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Context Collapse: 🧠The Weekstarter 8/14/23
Re-reconstructing mass culture: CC #229
In this issue: Consumer culture as identity/Bing Chat uber alles/Mass media cults/GenAI not generating FAANG revenue/+More.
Welcome to Context Collapse, the world’s best comms newsletter. I’m Neal Ungerleider. I run Ungerleider Works and used to work as a reporter for Fast Company, write op-eds for the LA Times, and work as a senior copywriter for R/GA. This newsletter helps readers navigate the weird new world of media and gleefully ignores all the conventional wisdom about journalism, public relations, marketing, and advertising.
Hey there Context Collapse friends. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. This world isn’t perfect, but I hope this newsletter makes a few minutes of your day better. -N.
“The assumed ideology in 21st-century American life is that your personal and political virtue is expressed in your consumer choices, that you reveal your innermost ethical self not through your actions or even your utterances but with the consumerist cultures you labor to broadly associate yourself with.”
“Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Bing Chat, is coming to non-Microsoft browsers, the company confirmed today following various reports of the AI chatbot being spotted in other browsers like Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari. The expansion will make Microsoft’s ChatGPT-like AI chatbot available to a broader set of users, as it was previously available to consumers only within Microsoft products, like the Bing mobile app and Microsoft Edge browser.”
“Warner Bros. Discovery said it is working on bringing news and live sports to its streaming offerings in the U.S., a balancing act for an entertainment conglomerate looking to grow its streaming subscriber base without cannibalizing its ailing TV-network business.”
This is why Netflix’s ad-tier is a mistake. The company is not reaching guaranteed numbers, but this is not a business proposition. We can’t let everybody in, just those who pay, who are really dedicated. We don’t want the casual, we want believers, who are going to pay for Netflix and watch and testify about shows. This is what Zaslav didn’t realize about HBO. It’s a cult. He dismantled it overnight. Do you know how hard it is to build a cult?”
“The YouTube Effect features appearances from creators, execs, and reporters, all of whom offer commentary about YouTube’s massive scale and its undeniable influencer on global events. Figures who appear in the film’s trailer include Anthony Padilla (who Winter directed in a 2015 Smosh feature film), Natalie Wynn of ContraPoints, and several notable figures from YouTube’s corporate history, including Co-Founder Steven Chen and former CEO Susan Wojcicki.”
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