The New York Times Gets Ready For 2020; AOL Founder Steve Case Warns Against AT&T-Time Warner Merge

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New Times

As deputy publisher for The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger plans to “help speed and smooth our transformation into a truly digital first company,” he told Poynter in an email interview. Sulzberger, credited for creating the Innovation Report, the blueprint behind the Times’ digital business, said he will bring the publisher into 2020 by pushing its newsroom into emerging areas like video and virtual reality, strengthening its subscription model and growing its $500 million digital business. “From watching the media landscape closely, I’m keenly aware that one of the most difficult challenges is moving quickly to adapt to trends, while resisting the impulse to chase fads – and having the wisdom to recognize which is which,” he said. More.

Learn From My Mistakes

In a column for The Wall Street Journal, AOL founder and ex-CEO Steve Case shares his own set of warnings for the proposed AT&T and Time Warner Merger – learned, of course, through experience. AOL’s botched merger with Time Warner 16 years ago was made on similar foundations. Like AT&T, AOL wanted to expand into new areas to boost revenue while bringing the legacy media giant into the digital future. Case describes the vision as “ahead of its time,” and imparts a few lessons to AT&T: Timing is everything, legacy businesses are difficult to reinvent and silos between businesses are all too real. Read it.


“The human brain releases pleasurable, habit-forming chemicals in response to social interactions, even to mere simulacra of them, and the hottest triggers are other people,” writes Ian Leslie in a long read for the Economist’s 1843 magazine on how apps leverage human addiction. “Google and Apple didn’t set out to make phones like slot machines. But the imperative of the system is to maximise time-on-device, and it turns out the best way of doing that is to dispense rewards to the operant on a variable schedule.” More.

You Botcha

IBM hopes Watson can be the dominant player in AI-driven brand activity, and that means owning the bot space. Messaging bots are active across enterprise and marketing platforms, and IBM is all over it. The Weather Channel, which is owned by IBM, just debuted a bot for Facebook that’s driven by Watson and can provide daily, local weather and potentially alert family or contacts during extreme weather events. Bloomberg yesterday reported on Slack’s new bot developer toolkit, which is similarly powered by IBM’s Watson. More.

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