Tom Freston: Media Conglomerates

Question: What is the future for big media conglomerates?

Tom Freston: Well their future is always . . . I mean their god is really the consumer, and how do they best in many . . . They’re basically in the content creation business. And a company like Viacom or News Corp, they create movies, television shows. You know they produce programming for the Internet – all the traditional type of programming. And they’re only gonna be as good at their game as the kind of people they have working there, or the cultures they have in place to really make the consumer connection. I really do believe that if you can build a connection with the consumer – and that’s generally built on the quality of your creative product – all the other things that really need to happen for you to make business . . . to make a good business out of it should much more easily fall into place. So at the heart of it is really your creative aptitude and all the things that go into maintaining and doing that. So I wouldn’t write off any of those companies. They have considerable assets and resources. They may have their ups or downs, but at the end of the day they’ve got a good head start over others. They’re fully able, I suppose, to get obsolete. But I wouldn’t say that all the big media companies would have, you know . . . that someone might fall on hard times, the company might get broken up and sold. But I don’t think in the end none of the businesses that they’re gonna go . . . that any of them are gonna go out of style. They may get more difficult. In many ways the Internet opens up huge new opportunities for them, and you see all of these companies beginning to sort of master that space and get better at it; and acquiring companies that are in that space.

Recorded On: 7/6/07

Some will fracture, others will expand online.

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Greater Commons, founded by Todd McLeod and Andrew Cull, is an organization that helps people live happier, more successful and fulfilling lives through agile learning. The current education system is inefficient and exclusionary, in which many students who end up earning a degree, if at all, enter a career not related to their field of study. Greater Commons solves this problem and gap in post-high school secondary education in a variety of ways. Passionately and diligently, Great Commons helps others obtain skills, knowledge, wisdom, motivation, and inspiration so that they may live better lives.

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PeerForward is an organization dedicated to increasing the education and career success rates of students in low-income schools and communities by mobilizing the power of positive peer influence. PeerForward works with partner schools to select influential students as a part of a team, systemizing the "peer effect." Research in the fields of sociology of schools, social-emotional learning, adult-youth partnerships, and civic education demonstrates that students can have a positive effect on the academic outcomes of their peers. PeerForward is unique through its systemic solutions to post-secondary education.

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Cogniss combines technology and best practice knowledge to enable anyone to innovate and share solutions that advance lifelong learning. Cogniss is the only platform to integrate neuroscience, through which it solves the problem of access by providing a low-code platform that enables both developers and non-developers to build sophisticated education apps fast, and at a much lower cost. It addresses the uneven quality of edtech solutions by embedding research-based learning design into its software. App creators can choose from a rich set of artificial intelligence, game, social and data analytics, and gamification to build their perfect customized solution.

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Practera's mission is to create a world where everyone can learn through experience. Today's workplaces are increasingly dynamic and diverse, however, costly and time-consuming experiential learning is not always able to offer the right opportunities at scale. Many students graduate without developing the essential skills for their chosen career. Practera's team of educators and technologists see this problem as an opportunity to transform the educational experience landscape, through a CPL pedagogical framework and opportunities to apply students' strengths through active feedback.

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Lorna Davis is the Senior Advisor to Danone CEO and is a Global Ambassador for the B Corp movement. Lorna has now joined B-Lab, the non-for-profit that supports the B Corporation movement on an assignment to support the journey of large multi nationals on the path to using business as a force of good.

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