Don’t Count TV Out Yet



Today’s Top Stories

TV Is Still Not Dead: Americans are still spending an inordinate amount of time around the big screen.

Volkswagen Begins the Big Payback: The largest civil settlement ever may be only the start.

Building a New Kind of City: Y Combinator has a bold plan.

Downtown Is Thriving For Those Who Can Afford It. The era of neglect is over.

OldCo to NewCo: That’s what Citigroup is trying to do, under attack from numerous fintech startups.

TV Is Still Not Dead. It’s useful to remember that change in behavior doesn’t always happen as quickly as the thought leaders predict, especially when that behavior is deeply entrenched. Recode riffs on a recent Nielsen report that the average American watches 4.3 hours of TV a day (DVR viewing bumps the average above five hours). That’s actually down a bit–the predictions aren’t all wrong–but it’s still way ahead of mobile video consumption, which Nielsen estimates at about an hour and a half per day. Yes, viewership is down, especially for millennials, but there’s no sense that the collapse is near. Change will happen, but it happens when the market is ready, not the prognosticators.

Volkswagen Begins the Big Payback. By the time you read this, Volkswagen is likely to have informed a federal judge in California that it will pay $14.7 billion to settle diesel claims in the U.S. (New York Times). Volkswagen admitted last September that its cars were designed to cheat air-quality tests and the settlement will be divided by owners of 475,000 vehicles. It’s the largest civil settlement by a car company, but it’s only for the U.S., covering only a small percentage of the estimated 11 million vehicles, most in Europe, that contained the cheating software. So this is far from over.

Building a New Kind of City. Something interesting is happening at the investment firm and startup accelerator Y Combinator. First it launched a basic income experiment and now it intends to build … a city (Bloomberg). It’s soliciting research proposals and is focusing on sustainability. As with basic income, which is still a while away from its pilot test, this is very early on and says more about Y Combinator’s ambitions than what it can deliver, but these are precisely the projects a venture trying to make change should be embarking on.

Downtown Is Thriving For Those Who Can Afford It. The pendulum has swung back and Americans are paying more to live in the very places they once abandoned (Washington Post). Urban downtowns that were neglected in the second half of the last century have come roaring back. “After decades of hollowing out,” according to the Federal Housing Finance Administration, “center-cities are becoming increasingly popular.” The story focuses on Washington, but it shows that the trend is true in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, and other cities. There’s a downside–revitalized city centers price out many–which is part of why suburban and exurban areas are still gaining population faster than downtowns.

OldCo to NewCo. Almost every successful company gets disrupted eventually, either by competition, change, or, if it’s lucky, itself. Citigroup is trying for option 3. Fortune traces the steps the financial giant is taking to embrace the fintech revolution: listening to smart outsiders, starting a skunkworks operation that specializes in rapid prototyping, pilfering people from Amazon and PayPal. It’s a deep look at how traditional financial services is getting disrupted from all sides and one incumbent’s attempts to adapt and avoid, as Citigroup CEO Stephen Bird puts it, “extinction.” The results are mixed, so far, but behind the messiness is an attempt to fight many battles simultaneously.

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