ProShares ETF Targets Bitcoin Selloff

BITI, which seeks to obtain exposure through bitcoin futures contracts, will track the opposite performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Index each day. The launch comes as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have struggled in sympathy with the broader stock market, which is contending with scorching-hot inflation.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency is currently trading around $20,000 per coin on Monday, well off its 52-week high of $68,990.90 hit last year, after briefly falling to a 52-week low of $17,601.58 per coin over the weekend. “As recent times have shown, bitcoin can drop in value,” ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said in a statement. “BITI affords investors who believe that the price of bitcoin will drop with an opportunity to potentially profit or to hedge their cryptocurrency holdings.”

ProShares will also launch BITIX on Tuesday, a mutual fund with the same investment objective as BITI. “With the additions of BITI and BITIX, ProShares and ProFunds will be the only fund families in the U.S. offering funds that allow investors to express their view on the direction of bitcoin — no matter whether they believe the price will go up or down,” Sapir added.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BITO PROSHARES TRUST BITCOIN STRATEGY ETF 12.95 +0.23 +1.81%

The launch of BITI and BITIX comes after ProShares launched BITO, the first U.S. bitcoin-linked ETF, in October 2021, which attracted more than $1 billion in assets from the public in just two days. The firm also launched the first bitcoin-linked mutual fund, BTCFX, in July 2021.  ProShares, which offers one of the largest lineups of ETFs, manages more than $50 billion in assets in partnership with its affiliates.

Eight months after establishing the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF, ProShares plans to launch the first short bitcoin-linked ETF on Tuesday in the U.S., the provider of investment products announced Monday. The ProShares Short Bitcoin Strategy, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker BITI, is designed to give investors a way to profit from declines in the price of the cryptocurrency. It will have an expense ratio of 0.95%.

Bitcoin fell to new a new 2022 low over the weekend of $17,601.58, according to Coin Metrics, after six months of declines amid the broader sell-off in risk assets. “As recent times have shown, bitcoin can drop in value,” ProShares CEO Michael Sapir said in a news release Monday. “BITI affords investors who believe that the price of bitcoin will drop with an opportunity to potentially profit or to hedge their cryptocurrency holdings. BITI enables investors to conveniently obtain short exposure to bitcoin through buying an ETF in a traditional brokerage account.”

BITI will be the first ETF of its kind in the U.S. Horizons ETFs has a short bitcoin ETF listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ProShares said BITI is designed to deliver the opposite of the performance of the S&P CME Bitcoin Futures Index and that it seeks to obtain exposure through bitcoin futures contracts. How well-timed the launch is remains to be seen. Markets remain fraught with uncertainty as investors await next steps from the Federal Reserve and signs of peaking inflation, but many are still speculating about the crypto market being at or near a bottom.

On Monday, bitcoin sat about 70% from its all-time high, which it hit in early November just a couple weeks after ProShares launched the Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO). Bitcoin quickly reversed lower, and has been falling since then.

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Thinking Strategically Will Help You Get Ahead and Stay Ahead

Strategic thinking is a critical skill in life. Interestingly, a lot of us hear about it for the first time in our lives through our managers “You are great at execution, but you need to start thinking strategically.” Previously considered a blatant corporate mumbo jumbo term, strategic thinking wasn’t a popular concept in the early years of my career. I kind of assumed that strategic thinking was reserved for corporates and people higher up in the company who needed to make crucial decisions around the future of an organization. It never occurred to me that thinking strategically isn’t a skill you acquire when you reach a certain position, it’s a skill you build to get to a certain position.

Strategic thinking is a critical skill in life.

Interestingly, a lot of us hear about it for the first time in our lives through our managers “You are great at execution, but you need to start thinking strategically.” Previously considered a blatant corporate mumbo jumbo term,strategic thinking wasn’t a popular concept in the early years of my career. I kind of assumed that strategic thinking was reserved for corporates and people higher up in the company who needed to make crucial decisions around the future of an organization.It never occurred to me that thinking strategically isn’t a skill you acquire when you reach a certain position, it’s a skill you build to get to a certain position.

I also believed that when I was ready to climb the corporate ladder, my manager would give me the training to help me build my strategic thinking skills and the opportunities to practice those skills. Call me naive, but that was the corporate world I lived in back then. Much has changed since, but one thing has remained constant: Strategic thinking is as important now (and may be even more) as it was many years ago.While universally, everyone is expected to have strategic thinking skills at some point in their career, no one is taught to think strategically at work, in college, or at school. Much of our education system is structured around a curriculum and how to fit our minds within a box.At school, we are praised for sticking to conventional wisdom and not asking too many questions. The trend continues in college.

In the early years of our career, we are rewarded so much for our speed of execution that we fail to realize that our journey ahead is less about doing things and more about deciding the right thing to do.When a large part of our life is spent executing someone else’s idea, it isn’t easy to break out of that mold and rewire our brain to think above and beyond. But strategic thinking is not a skill you can develop without practice.

Strategic thinking is a muscle that we all need to build because using it right at work can be a strategic advantage in your career growth as an individual. Much like a rubber band, you need to stretch and exercise your thinking. It requires crossing the boundary of the comfort zone to think about an idea to its extreme without mental guardrails to put it down. It requires uncovering new insights that moderate thinking would never surface.

Getting started on the strategic thinking mindset

Before we jump to the strategies to embrace a strategic thinking mindset, here are a few questions to kick-off your thinking. You need to ask yourself these questions from time to time. Write them down if you want them to be more effective:

  • Where do you stand right now?
  • Where do you want to be next year and the year after that?
  • What skills do you need to get there?
  • How can you practice those skills?
  • How can you increase your chances of success?
  • How can you use your time effectively and maximize it for impact?
  • Who can help you validate your ideas and give you feedback to expand your thinking?

Once you are able to spend some time thinking deep and hard about these questions, you are ready to embrace a strategic thinking mindset. Follow these 4 key strategies:

  1. Challenge and Question Assumptions

Many parents and even teachers are annoyed with kids who ask too many questions: “Why do I have to go to school?” “Why do I have to sleep early when you can be awake till late?” “Why can’t I play video games?” “Why do I have to finish my homework?” You may have not gotten all these answers as a kid. None of us did. But not getting these answers as a child shouldn’t stop you from asking questions as an adult. Curiosity and the ability to express that curiosity constructively is a great skill to have at work.

One of the biggest problems I see in organizations is how people do certain things because they have always been done that way. Emailing a report every morning to hundreds of employees that no one cares to open. Spending hours and hours of meeting time in planning discussions when no one cares about those plans a few months down the line. Far too many inefficiencies creep into the corporate system over a long period of time.

One big component of building a strategic thinking mindset is to challenge how certain things are done in your organization – not with the intent to put someone down or establish your superiority, but to identify ways to do them better. Ask targeted questions on specific problems within your organization or your line of work. Learn from how others respond or think about these problems. Different points of view on these problems will not only expand your own thinking, they will give you a direction on the areas that are worth investing your time in.

  1. Observe, Interact and Draw Connections

The hustle and bustle of getting things done, moving faster, quicker and making things happen can prevent you from noticing and investing in activities, ideas and projects that are more important in the long-term, but need your attention right now. We have all fallen for the lure of attending to the urgent while pushing the important stuff to the side. The instant gratification from solving the problem in the short-term is always more alluring than the prudent decision. We may optimize for a small gain in the moment without analyzing the potential impacts of our decision in the future. Building a strategic thinking mindset requires delaying that gratification. It requires living with a small, unimportant problem and putting all your energy and focus on other important ideas and activities that require long-term planning and execution.

Create mental space for new ideas to kick-in. Without the quiet time to sit with your thoughts, facing the uncomfortable silence, and letting your mind wander away, you cannot draw useful connections. It will not happen the first time around and probably not even the second time. But if you are persistent in your efforts, without digital and other distractions of daily life, you will start to notice new patterns of thinking. New ideas that you never thought about before will start to surface.Another great strategy is to not restrict yourself to knowledge within your current scope of work.

Spend time learning about your business and industry. Meet with other functions within your organization to understand how they operate, what their challenges are and how they make decisions. All of this knowledge will enable you to apply different mental models to connect ideas from different domains thereby expanding your circle of competence and building your strategic thinking skills.Remember, building strategic thinking skills involves looking beyond the obvious and now to prodding and shaping the uncertain future. You can’t do that without the willingness to face a little discomfort in the present to build the skills you need in the future.

  1. Put it Into Action

Now, to the most important part. I have discussed this before. In any organization, both big picture thinking and nitty-gritty details are important. Strategic thinking requires the right balance of thinking ahead while actioning in the now. It’s the perfect amalgamation of what the future holds to what must be done now in the present to make that future possible. Strategic thinking not only involves the long-term view into the future, it also involves the choices you need to make to make that future possible. It requires determining which path to take and which to abandon. It requires evaluating the cost and making the trade-offs. Doing something will always come at the cost of not doing something else.While a good strategy is important to get started, a strategy by itself won’t get you anywhere.

You need both strategy “the intent” and tactics “putting that intent to action.” Break down your strategy into the specific things you need to do.Plan what day of the week, and what specific time of the day you are actually going to give life to your strategy. To make sure you don’t let things slip by, or fail to grab the right opportunities, plan these activities on your calendar. Don’t let lack of time or other excuses be the reason for inaction. Plan your time to make things happen.

  1. Craft and Communicate

Finally, to embrace a strategic thinking mindset, don’t work in silos. Find people around you that you can trust, respect or admire. Exchange your ideas with them, request them to challenge your thinking, enable them to ask you tough and uncomfortable questions.By answering these questions, you will not only expand your thinking, you will open your mind to consider new possibilities. Instead of sticking with your original conclusions, you will be willing to challenge your assumptions.

Strategic Thinking is an Ongoing Process

You can’t build a strategic thinking muscle unless you audit your outcomes, inquire about other opinions and adapt to the changes around you. The world is changing very fast and you need to adapt your thinking to the demands of the tomorrow and not the expectations from the past.

To adapt your thinking, follow these 3 practices:

  1. Audit:

Make it a habit to review how you are doing against your goals. Typically a brief review every month and a quarterly deep dive should be sufficient to get a handle on your state of affairs. Examine your strategy from time to time and audit it to ensure you are still leaning against the right wall.When things are going well, put your strategic thinking hat to determine how you can do better:

  • Does an area seem more promising than you originally envisioned?
  • Does it make sense to invest more resources in that area?
  • What kind of changes can you foresee based on market shifts or other industry trends?
  • How can you make sure you aren’t biased in your thinking by relying only on confirming pieces of evidence while rejecting data that contradicts it.

When things aren’t working out as expected, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it a specific tactic that’s causing your strategy to not work. Should you reconsider another tactic?
  • If the tactic is not a problem, do you need to reconsider the strategy itself?
  • Is it possible that external circumstances beyond your control are causing your strategy to not work?
  • Has something changed since you implemented this strategy that you have not considered yet? Is it possible that change is making your strategy ineffective?
  • Is your ego getting in the way and making you invest in a failed cause? Can you look past the sunk costs into other better opportunities?
  1. Inquire

It’s easy to get muddled up in our own thinking and assume we are making the right decision even when we are not. Others can clearly see what we are sometimes not able to see ourselves.Seeking an outside opinion and encouraging different perspectives that challenge our viewpoint is a great way to uncover our blind spots. Strategy for your personal life? Seek feedback from close family and friends. Strategy for an organization? Seek inputs from colleagues and other coworkers.Don’t stay with your opinion unless you have solid data and people to back up your thinking. Ask others these questions:

  • What’s the one thing wrong with my strategy?
  • What’s the one thing I can do better with my strategy?
  • What would you do if you were in my place?
  • What would you not do if you were in my place?
  • What circumstances or events would cause you to evaluate other options?
  1. Adapt

Finally, use the inputs from your audit and inquiry to adjust your strategy. Adapt your future strategy based on the learning from your past. What worked? What didn’t work? What mistakes did you make? Strategic thinking is as much about the future as it’s about learning from your past. Visualize your future. Look at your past. Adjust the gap with the changes you need to make to build that future for yourself and others. You don’t need a breakthrough idea, just the simple choices that will move you forward one step at a time in the direction of your goals.

Many people make the mistake and assume they aren’t thinking strategically if they don’t come up with an innovative idea. Strategic thinking is less about innovation and more about the ability to make the right connections.

Summary

  1. Strategic thinking: The ability to visualize the long-term while planning the short-term to align with the long-term is a critical skill in life.
  2. Much like other things in life, strategic thinking is a muscle that gets better with repetition and practice.
  3. To get started on your strategic thinking journey, start with challenging and questioning assumptions. Identify new ways to do small things at work.
  4. Make time and space to allow your brain to form new connections. Learn about your industry, business and other functions in the organization to expand your thinking beyond your current scope of work.
  5. Give life to your strategy by putting it into action. Break down your strategy into tactics, the specific things you need to do to implement your strategy.
  6. Don’t be rigid in your thinking. Open your brain to new possibilities by seeking others’ opinions and encouraging them to challenge your assumptions.
  7. Finally, strategic thinking is an on-going process. You need to audit, inquire and adjust your strategy based on your learning from the past and the demands of tomorrow.

By Vinita Bansal

Source: Thinking Strategically Will Help You Get Ahead and Stay Ahead | HackerNoon

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Emerging Markets and The Future Of Blockchain

In the first ten years of the expansion of blockchain technology, it was utterly dominated by developed (or more precisely western) nations. But emerging markets like Africa are adopting crypto faster than their global counterparts. This growth is even more impressive when one considers that there has been very little institutional support for blockchain technology in these nations.

The growth in blockchain adoption has been concentrated in. Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania, which are some of the most densely populated nations on the continent, which have been banned from crypto trading. In the first ten years of the expansion of blockchain technology, it was utterly dominated by developed (or more precisely western) nations. Almost all the Bitcoin Miners were located in America and Europe, and only rising mining costs moved those operations abroad.

Asides from that, many of the earliest Bitcoin/blockchain innovators were either westerners or living in western countries. For example, Vitalik Buterin, while being Russian-born himself, had been in Canada for the better part of two decades before creating Ethereum. However, as blockchain technology is moving into the next phase of its development, it appears that emerging markets like Africa are adopting crypto faster than their global counterparts. While no one knows the reason for this, it’s very difficult to deny that it’s happening. The numbers are simply undeniable.

For example, cryptocurrency adoption grew in Africa by 1200% between the 12 months between July 2020 and June 2021. Regardless of whether this was brought on by the financial uncertainty of the pandemic or other clusters of reasons, the effect of this growth can hardly be ignored. This growth in blockchain adoption has been concentrated in countries Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania, which are some of the most densely populated nations on the continent. Peer-to-peer trading, which is a huge part of blockchain technology, is so big in Kenya that the country led the world in P2P transactions in 2022.

All this points to an exciting future for blockchain technology in these markets. This growth is even more impressive when one considers that there has been very little institutional support for blockchain technology in these nations. Many of the regulators in these countries have banned crypto trading, which has slowed down adoption. Despite that, the rate of adoption is still incredible. All this points to one thing; blockchain technology adoption might already have plateaued in the West, but this is just the beginning in emerging markets like Africa.

The Opportunities are Limitless

The blockchain ecosystem of emerging markets might not be as huge as that of developed nations, but it’s rather apparent that blockchain technology solves more structural problems in these markets than elsewhere. For example, in nations where inflation is rampant — like Zimbabwe — citizens can safeguard their wealth with stablecoins. Interestingly, I addressed the structural problems of P2E economies here and recommended the need for a dedicated stablecoin to fix these structural problems.

Blockchain technology also gives a level of autonomy to citizens in nations with oppressive and dictatorial governments. In countries where governments can unilaterally freeze bank accounts of dissidents, digital stores of value like cryptocurrency can be a real vehicle of social change.This is indeed already happening. In 2020, there was at least one case of a popular protest funded in part by Bitcoin. Bitcoin was rather useful for the protest because of the anonymity and decentralization built into the coin’s infrastructure on the blockchain.

Asides from the monetary use of blockchain, it also has administrative uses as well. By applying blockchain technology to supply chain management, countries can greatly improve asset recording, tracking, assigning, linking and sharing; developing nations can build resilient supply chains without using an overinflated bureaucracy. This can be especially useful for developing nations that are battling supply chain issues. Blockchain can be useful in the entertainment industry as well. It can be used to prevent privacy in the industry, protect digital content, and facilitate the distribution of digital collectibles.

There are opportunities in gaming too. While Play-to-Earn games with NFT characters have gotten a bad rep because of how expensive it is to purchase a character, companies like Rainmaker Games are solving this problem. Rainmaker Games, for example,  is one of the most exciting companies revolutionizing games for the future. Within just a few months, Rainmaker Games has found a way to vet the identity of players who are joining guilds, figure out a way players can play hundreds of P2E games for free, and also incorporate an NFT marketplace on all of that.

With startups like Rainmaker Games lowering the barrier of entry for P2E gamers from emerging markets, it’s only a matter of time before these players stand toe to toe with the rest of the world. Asides from the structural shakeup a startup like Rainmaker Games can cause with its technology; there’s also the matter of the financial freedom these P2E games can give to players from emerging markets.

The NFT Goldmine

Despite the opportunities on the blockchain, it’s obvious that the same enthusiasm for crypto in emerging markets has been missing. One reason that has been brought up is the unfriendly technical nature of NFTs. And that could be a good point. After all, the more technical using a technology is, the fewer people use it.

Perhaps that’s why players in Web3 are already working on the important infrastructure that will help builders scale technical barriers to entry and build products faster and cheaper in the ecosystem. Ankr is one of those stakeholders, and the company provides fast, reliable infrastructure at community first pricing. It isn’t just infrastructure either — the company does everything from helping enterprises integrate with Web3 to allowing DeFi users to stake their coins and earn higher yields.

Right now, NFTs have taken on a lot of different forms, but there’s one that remains elusive; representation from emerging markets.While developing nations seem quite capable of holding their own and accelerating their development when it comes to crypto, the markedly lukewarm attitude toward NFTs has continued unabated. We know that the reason isn’t because of lack of utility. NFTs have proven that they can solve the problem of monetization for content creators and solve the problem of piracy for artists.

This means that NFTs have a huge future in these emerging markets — even if adoption isn’t on the up and up as it is with crypto. The problem, it seems, is with the complexities of releasing a token and a much higher tech barrier to entry. Cryptocurrency has largely avoided these problems due to a friendlier technical environment. For example, there are centralized exchanges for crypto where people with limited technical knowledge can just open an account and buy their cryptocurrency.

While there is also something like that for NFTs — Opensea is a great example — it isn’t targeted at or built for content creators in emerging markets.Thankfully, some NFT companies are also already solving the problem of higher technical barriers to entry. Ayoken Labs, for example, is building an NFT platform where artists and content creators from these emerging markets can release their social tokens, and essentially monetize their content efficiently.

This platform not only monetizes content for creators but also rewards fans and users in general with its native token for use. In a way, it’s like a play-to-earn game but without the gaming aspect.It’s clear that there are limitless opportunities in the blockchain space in emerging markets. It’s almost inevitable that more startups will come into the space and create solutions that are tailor-made for these markets. It is now a matter of when — not if. Today, the developed world is the capital of blockchain innovation. But it might not be for long.

By Victor Fabusola

How Media Companies Can Use AI To Keep And Win Subscribers

Think of your favorite movie as a kid, say in the first 10 years of your life. Now think of your favorite movie from the past decade. Do you have one? Do you have 100?

In a world with basically infinite content, choice is one of our greatest joys—and frustrations. With each passing year, consumers seem to grow more fickle and demanding, regularly moving to the platforms and publications that offer not only the best catalog but also the best customer service, content experience, user interface, and bang for the buck. And even these features may not be enough, as the recent upheaval among the major streamers has shown.

Holding on to viewers, readers, and listeners has become more important than ever. Yet most consumers can only maintain so many subscription services at once. The goal for media companies needs to be to sustain their interest, and with as much share of the consumer’s wallet as possible.

As such, churn is now the most prominent enemy of the media and entertainment industry business model. Consumers can be mercurial, sensitive to price and changes in content catalogs. Just as adding a service has rarely been easier, so is dropping one, which consumers have shown themselves more than willing to do when a channel is no longer serving their needs.

With these challenges front and center, leading media and entertainment companies are increasingly turning to data analytics and personalized content recommendations to improve customer experience and retention. In the dog-eat-dog digital world, it’s no longer the loudest bark that gets the most attention. It’s about pairing the right breed to the sensibilities of a specific person, and having the best stable of information and offerings to make that match and keep it going.

As subscriptions have risen, so has churn

A good example of the challenge of churn can be seen with streaming video. Deloitte performed a series of surveys in 2020 to gauge how consumers were changing their media consumption habits amidst the pandemic.

In January 2020, the average consumer in the United States subscribed to three paid streaming services; by October 2020, the number of subscriptions had risen to five. Overall, a positive development for media, but with the increase in subscriptions came a commensurate increase in churn.

In January 2020, Deloitte found that only 20% of people who had subscribed to a paid streaming service had cut at least one of those services in the past 12 months. By October, that number more than doubled, with 46% of consumers canceling a streaming service in the preceding six months. And at that time, 34% of consumers said that they’d both added and canceled a streaming service since the pandemic started.

Why did viewers churn? Deloitte noted that 62% of people in 2020 who had signed up for a service and then canceled it had done so because they signed up to watch a specific show, then canceled the service when they’d finished watching it. Price, as always, was also a big factor. In October 2020, 31% of people who canceled a service did so because it was too expensive. Another 28% canceled because a free trial or discount period ended. About 21% cut the service because of a lack of content they found interesting.

No matter how focused on addressing churn a company may be, what can they do when the whims of the consumer are so sensitive and fluctuate wildly?

Companies need to find ways to anticipate what their audiences want at least as well as the audience does—and certainly better than their competition. Two of the best defenses against churn are having an organized data platform, then using that data to personalize content recommendations and customer experience.

Data maturity is the first step to mitigating churn

Data maturity is the ability to have accurate and reliable data that can be utilized through cloud platforms, with advanced analytics informing every decision. It is one of the most important steps for media and entertainment companies to take in the effort to mitigate churn

In our experience working with companies as varied as Spotify, The New York Times, Major League Baseball, and Hearst, the first step to achieving data maturity is building a company culture where data is prioritized within the strategic business framework, and where funding is allocated to technology and human resources to build a mature data ecosystem.

Data maturity should not be a bolt-on to existing practices, but needs to become central to the company’s strategic business goals. Companies that have achieved data maturity tend to have specific teams or centers of excellence that manage goals, strategy, and tactics of the organization’s data framework.

In a 2020 survey by EY Global Media & Entertainment, 62% of media and entertainment executives said they saw the increasing availability of data as an opportunity. About 56% prioritized first-party data, versus only 13% who prioritized third-party data. When asked about their top three data priorities, 44% said that the consolidation of customer data was a top concern. About 40% said developing proprietary data sources was a priority, while 39% prioritized improving the relevance of data.

Consolidating data out of data silos to a unified data platform is the biggest challenge that most companies will face when building a roadmap to data maturity.

A report by Deloitte in partnership with the Google News Initiative on how news and media companies can achieve digital transformation through data outlined some of the technologies that companies can adopt to achieve data maturity. Two elements are required. First, media and entertainment companies need to be able to collect and store data that they are gathering from their planet-sized audiences and users with the tools listed below.

  • Data management platform (DMP) helps to manage first-party data segments and integrate third-party data and push data to other systems.
  • Data lake or warehouse, a central repository of data from multiple sources.
  • Cloud storage for reliability, security, and scalability.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) the backbone of customer data that records and tracks user interactions with registered subscribers.
  • Customer data platform (CDP) to record and track customer data across platforms and devices.

Second, companies need to make sense of all that data and derive actionable insights from it.

  • Data analytics and reporting tools that can collect, organize, and analyze data from multiple sources.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning tools. Derive even more insights through AI/ML-enabled capabilities such as computer vision, speech and object recognition, and text translation.
  • Propensity modeling helps build a better understanding of customer preferences, fulfilling the key elements of personalization to prevent churn.

Below we describe some of the unique data sources available to media and entertainment companies and how it can be applied to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Media and entertainment have unique data sources

Media and entertainment companies can improve personalization by tapping two unique sets of data particular to the industry: media content and audience behavior.

Media content includes easily identifiable metadata such as the title, headline, genre, topic, or format of a piece of content. But media data can also include context of the actual content itself.

For instance, AI tools like object recognition and computer vision can detect items within a movie and then add the description of the object to the searchable metadata of the content. If a television show contains a border collie, the AI can recognize the good dog and surface the show in a search for “shows with dogs.” Or with speech recognition and translation, AI can build a data set of the dialogue within a movie and make certain keywords part of the search for that show.

Behavioral data of the audience can be used in a variety of ways. Data can come from many different sources including a person’s location, device, browsing and scrolling, user profile, engagement, billing preferences, purchase and support history. Companies can help personalize experiences with this data by understanding how people interact with content and how best to engage with them, such as what times of the week are best for push notifications or when a person might be most amenable to a content recommendation.

Using artificial intelligence to personalize user experience

If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite streaming service seems to so uncannily know what you want to watch—even better than you might—the answer is probably some clever AI. Personalization is the practice of combining the new, massive datasets outlined above with machine learning and artificial intelligence to create experiences tailored to the specific needs and behaviors of an individual person.

Personalization is often associated with content recommendations. For example, about 70% of what is viewed on YouTube comes from a personalized recommendation. Certain streaming services are known to have some of the best content recommendation systems in the business. The goal with the personalization of content is to surface a new show, video, movie, podcast, song, band, album, article, or blog to the person at precisely the right moment.

Personalization is also an important element in search. Consider that with the right data inputs, two users searching for the same keywords could get vastly different results attuned to their consumption preferences. In both cases, content better suited to a person’s interest will keep them from looking around at other platforms or publications, helping to reduce churn.

The same is true for more traditional outlets, as well. Take a recent example from the (digital) pages of Newsweek. The publication’s chief technology officer, Michael Lukac, recently noted that “Google Cloud Recommendations AI has not only improved our click-through rate by 50% to 75% and subscription conversion rate by 10% but also allowed us to increase total revenue per visit by 10%.”

If you’re looking for more information about why personalization matters and how to bring it to your own services and experiences, discover more in our new ebook, Personalizing Media for Global Audiences.

Lluis Canet, Solutions Lead for Media Analytics and AI, Google Cloud

Source: Churn It Down: How Media Companies Can Use AI To Keep And Win Subscribers

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Expert Reveals How To Protect Your Finances From Volatile Market

Calamos Investments CEO John Koudounis argued on Sunday that market volatility will continue for “a long time,” but noted that the current situation presents buying opportunities.

“I don’t see it [market turbulence] going away,” Koudounis told “Fox News Live” on Sunday. “It depends how the Fed tries to land this. It’s going to be very difficult to have a soft landing. It’s never been done.”

“There will be some good times, there will be some bad times,” the CEO of the global investment firm specializing in investment management added. “Our advice to our customers, you have to be in it because the upside comes around, and you have to be invested.”

Koudounis provided the insight two days after the S&P 500, the broadest measure of the U.S. stock market, slipped into bear market territory before clawing back above that level.

The benchmark fell over 20% from its January high of 4,796.56 before erasing losses to close at 3,901.36. An official bear market would require the benchmark to close at or below 3,837.25.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which entered a bear market earlier this year and has fallen 29% year to date.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 31261.9 +8.77 +0.03%
SP500 S&P 500 3901.36 +0.57 +0.01%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11354.617127 -33.88 -0.30%

Koudounis stressed that the current situation “absolutely” presents “some value.”

“There’s been a rotation between the growth and value stocks,” he noted. “Now the growth stocks have been beaten up so much that active managers, the professionals, are starting to pick some and add to those positions. And the companies that are fundamental, have issues, they’ve lowered those positions.”

“So if you are an active manager, you’re actually looking at this as an opportunity to get rid of some companies that haven’t been doing well and add to the ones you think are going to do well,” Koudounis continued. “So there is opportunity out there and over the course of time if you have a balanced portfolio you’ll do fine.”

Markets have been experiencing volatility in recent weeks as concerns over Federal Reserve rate hikes and high inflation continued to worry investors.

On Wednesday U.S. stocks saw steep selling as more retailers revealed the negative impact of inflation amounting to the worst day for stocks since 2020. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 1,100 points, or 3.6% on Wednesday.

Earlier this month it was revealed that inflation cooled on an annual basis for the first time in months in April, but rose more than expected as supply chain constraints, the Russian war in Ukraine and strong consumer demand continued to keep consumer prices elevated.

The Labor Department announced earlier this month that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rents, rose 8.3% in April from a year ago, below the 8.5% year-over-year surge recorded in March. Prices jumped 0.3% in the one-month period from March. Those figures were both higher than the 8.1% headline figure and 0.2% monthly gain forecast by Refinitiv economists.

The Federal Reserve faces the tricky task of cooling demand and prices without inadvertently dragging the economy into a recession. “Inflation is here, and it is very difficult for the Fed to control this,” Koudounis argued, stressing that everybody getting “hurt” by the price hikes.

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his commitment to curbing the highest inflation in decades, indicating the central bank will raise interest rates as high as necessary in order to tame consumer prices.

Fed policymakers hiked the benchmark federal funds rate by a half point earlier this month, and Powell has all but promised that two, similarly sized increases are on the table at the forthcoming meetings in June and July. He echoed that sentiment on Tuesday as the Fed races to catch-up with runaway inflation and bring it back down to the 2% target.

Koudounis warned that “it is going to be difficult to avoid” a recession.  “We’re hoping that the Fed can avoid it,” he continued, noting the central bank is expected to raise rates at each upcoming meeting. “My guess is 50 basis points each time,” Koudounis said.

“If they keep course and stop buying and of course keep raising [rates] right through the end of the year, it is going to be tough to avoid it.”Koudounis added that he believes inflation will stick around and will not hit the Fed’s 2% target by the end of the year.

Source: Volatility in markets will stick around for ‘a long time’: Investment expert | Fox Business

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