Profit models: Television vs. Film

Movies and T.V. series are two of the most popular and extremely profitable entertainment sectors today. However, because of the dynamic trends that easily captivate audiences and viewers around the world, one sometimes dominates the other in terms of revenue.

The important question to ask here is, which is generally more profitable? To be able to answer this, this article will try to discuss the profit models and related business strategies that eventually shape the fate of these media commodities.

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Producers of the biggest films today usually take huge financial risks when they spend millions of dollars to create a single movie. You may be wondering, can filmmakers earn from these huge investments?

One of the ways that filmmakers make money is through domestic and overseas box office sales. On the other hand, popular movies like Star Wars, for instance, have earned a huge profit on toy merchandise alone. Another income-generating strategy is selling media franchising rights to companies outside of the entertainment industry in order to promote their own products.

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The popularity of a TV brand will always determine its earning potential. For instance, one of television’s most successful money-maker is HBO. The hit TV series Game of Thrones saw soaring profits for their home brand, and even if the series is nearing its end, experts predict huge earning channels from the show’s merchandise, media franchising and even streaming rights from domestic and overseas companies.

Most television shows turn to DVD sales to earn the biggest percentage of their profit, raking hundreds of millions of dollars, but advertising streams are their major advantage. In fact, advertisers pay a huge amount of money just to appear on the same screen time with a popular television series.

How cryptocurrencies emerged

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Everyone living in the wired world today has probably heard or read about cryptocurrency. Although this digital alternative to traditional currencies wasn’t generally accepted years ago since it was invented, it eventually managed to establish enough following in order to become one of the most innovative methods of exchange or payment in the modern era.

The history of cryptocurrencies goes way back in the 1980s. Even then, people started toying with the concept of non-physical cash, a digital currency that can be an equal physical cash alternative to be used for different financial transactions.

David Chaum, an American cryptographer, invented the first form of digital cash, aptly named as DigiCash when he was in the Netherlands. The invention was an extension of the once popular encryption algorithm, the RSA.

Some technology giants were attracted to the very concept of DigiCash that even Microsoft was ready to hand in $180 million to Chaum’s company so that the cryptocurrency’s application program, eCash, will be made available on every Windows PC in the world. Unfortunately, Chaum rejected the offer and this was followed by another misfortune when the Netherland’s central bank expressed hostility towards the company.  In 1998, Chaum’s firm suffered a tragic bankruptcy.

Today, the rise of the popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the blockchain technology seems to be unstoppable ever since it was recognized publicly in 2009. The digital cash fever was followed by other digital currencies that are slowly making their name in this emerging industry so that over 850 cryptocurrencies are being traded not just in the U.S. but across the globe.

While many investment experts applaud this interesting innovation, financial analysts, on the other hand, remain skeptical.

REPOST: Sustainable by design: the cutting edge of commercial real estate

Booming economies also mean great business for the real estate industry. But unlike in the past decades, today’s architects and designers are much more meticulous than ever, with building design projects mostly aiming to respond to the evolving needs of both the workforce and the environment. More on this from The New Economy:

Italian architect Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) in Milan is cloaked by 2,500 hanging plants and incorporates 1,100 trees from 23 different local species

The gradual global economic upturn of recent years has aided a construction boom. In the US alone, new developments contributed over $647bn to the economy in the third quarter of 2017, after several bullish years.

This trend shows no sign of abating: in 2018, we will see a series of innovative and expensive commercial real estate projects set new records. For instance, the world’s tallest building will be erected in Dubai, and their are plans to construct a skyscraper town around it.

Among such developments, striking new builds demonstrate how design is adapting to changing commercial and environmental demands.

Raising the roof
For Daniel Safarik, Editor at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the enduring interest in skyscrapers goes beyond the simple economic advantage of using less land and results from the buildings’ intrinsic appeal. Safarik told The New Economy: “[A marketable, iconic skyline is about] monetising the emotional resonance of building towards the sky that has occupied the human imagination since the Tower of Babylon.”

Radical new projects are seeking to capitalise on this effect: New York’s emerging Steinway Tower is set to become the world’s thinnest skyscraper, while St Petersburg’s 462m-high Lakhta Centre will make a prominent stand for the enduring status of these ambitious builds and their allure for investors.

But increased infrastructure budgets seem to be paying dividends in innovation too, as bold designs replace traditional models. Portland, for example, will house the world’s first timber skyscraper when Lever Studio’s $29m construction, Framework, is completed this year.

Then there’s the Vessel, a honeycomb-shaped tower of interlocking stairs in New York’s Hudson Bay, which features in the largest private real estate project in US history and is tipped to become the city’s Eiffel Tower.

Although Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel is no skyscraper – standing at just 150ft, it’s relatively modest when compared with Steinway Tower’s 1,428ft drop – the creative design at the centre of this $20bn development reinforces the centrality of monumental design to new commercial projects.

Continue reading HERE.

REPOST: How the creative economy and design thinking are transforming Philadelphia

Are we seeing the golden era of human-centered design? Across the globe, and not just in Philadelphia, innovative design is making great leaps in many businesses, helping them increase brand value and consequently, gain more revenues. Read the article below from the Philadelphia Business Journal for more insights:

Leaders of major corporations, universities, healthcare systems, and technology firms are investing heavily and integrating processes called Design-Thinking, Creative Leadership, and Human-Centered Design. With so many dollars at stake, we’re asking the very simple question, “why?”

Jefferson University and Health System acquires Philadelphia University, a design school. Why? To “start a revolution in how students are taught … so they can deliver even more value to society,” says President Stephen Klasko, “in recognition that design and healthcare are inextricably linked.” Chancellor Stephen Spinelli is bullish on “the robust value” of design and systems thinking, noting, “we’re thinking doctors who are designers…designers who are physician assistants, occupational therapists who are industrial designers…We will be an example from which a lot of people can learn.”

Electronic Ink, a design, research and content strategy firm sells to Liquid Hub a business technology solutions firm. Why? Design capabilities help Liquid Hub better “understand the human effect” of technology for clients. The firm now leverages designers, whose backgrounds range from architecture to anthropology, to do user experience and cognitive research. The result is a rich trove of data to guide design of the next product, platform and experience, a recognizable competitive advantage in the knowledge economy.

If it isn’t broken, break it,” says SEI’s CEO, Al West, on his approach to using art and creative to reinvent culture at the company every ten years. Why? Because the visionary behind the West Collection in Oaks, PA, believes a collection of 3,100 compelling contemporary art works by emerging artists—1,500 of which hang on the walls of SEI’s corporate campus at any one time—“challenges the SEI community and public to think differently about business.” With the help of Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Samuels, West has also evolved the SEI brand in ways that foster both organic and structured design-led innovation initiatives, including a new “Idea Farm,” meant to generate the next set of solutions to “drive lasting client success.”

Integral Molecular, a 16-year-old company located in uCity Square that focuses on antibody discovery for membrane protein involved in diseases such as asthma, Zika, cancer, and chronic pain engages with an artist in residence program with Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts – Emerging Design Practices at University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. So why did the University City Science Center broker this “deal?” “The ability to interpret and communicate science to the larger community is an important goal of this program,” says Benjamin Doranz, President and CEO of Integral Molecular, as well as a part-time sculptor. Telhan adds he is excited to “make this invisible world more accessible to non-scientists.”

Philadelphia’s Mural Arts receives major funding from the Ford Foundation’s new $100 million Art for Justice Fund, aimed at investing in strategic efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Mural Arts’ long history of “incorporating art and social justice” has given rise to programs including the Guild, a paid apprenticeship program, giving formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults on probation the opportunity to develop job readiness skills as well assistance with access to GED and higher education support services. This funding catalyzes the launch of a major public art project in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s MacArthur Foundation-supported Safety and Justice Challenge initiative, a $3.5 investment in strategies that will safely reduce the average daily jail population over the next three years. The City is also doubling down in its investment in creative thinking, having recently launched a 10-month speaker series exploring strategic design and a multi-agency team called GovLabPHL using “the power and potential of human-centered design and behavioral economics to improve service delivery” across local government.

Continue reading HERE.

The most disruptive Internet companies today

The world has seen different transformations across several industries for the past decade and it’s all thanks to one important innovation that connected everything and everyone around the globe: the Internet. As it rose to popularity, several Internet platforms have been introduced in the forms of software, websites, and applications that have not only helped improved people’s lives but also given birth to the most disruptive companies that continue to drive the future to greater heights. In fact, many of them have become huge tech brands that they eventually became important components of many investment portfolios, including offshore mutual funds. Take a look at some of the leading Internet-based companies today:

Uber Technologies Inc.

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Uber Technologies is a California-based taxi technology company known for its car transportation and food delivery mobile apps. It was founded in 2008 and is currently operating in over 600 cities worldwide. The company’s estimated revenue was reported to have reached 6.5 billion USD in 2016.


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Netflix is ranked 10th among the world’s largest internet companies in terms of revenue. It was founded in 1997 and started its operations in the United States. Based on a 2017 statistics, it has over 117.5 million streaming subscribers from around the world. This American company provides video and media streaming services both online and offline.


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In terms of revenue, the Chinese multinational Internet company Alibaba is ranked the 6th largest in the world. It was a small startup founded by Jack Ma in 1999 from his apartment in Hangzhou, China – the same city where the company’s headquarters is now located. The company is a recognized innovator in the world e-commerce, internet, retail and AI technology. One of the reasons for Alibaba’s success, according to experts, is its unique business model as well as the company’s unconventional profit model.  

REPOST: The cosplay economy: How dressing up grew up

Pop culture can have a massive impact on the economy. Even the relatively simple concept of dressing up as a fiction character (costume play) has brought—whether directly or indirectly—considerable revenues to the industry in which it is most associated with. Here’s an interesting piece from The Independent:


Cartoon character: Svetlana Quindt makes a living from the medium /


To the cynical, it may seem like a childish hobby, but, says Katryn Furmston, it’s not just a release for the disenfranchised, it’s giving people vital skills and even launching design careers

Comic conventions have steadily risen in popularity over recent decades and, as a corollary, cosplay – dressing up as a favourite character – is becoming more than just a hobby to many people. You only have to look at some of the costumes to realize the effort that some people put in – whether that involves handcrafting or sourcing the perfect piece – to realise the devotion involved.

The most recent major events in the UK have attracted record turnouts. More than 133,000 cosplayers attended the London MCM Comic Con event in May this year. When you consider that tickets can cost more than £20 per person, it suggests this strange new industry is generating money for the UK economy. And it’s not just tickets to events – people often spend upwards of £200 on materials, paints and fixings to make their costumes.

There has been a debate on whether the rise of cosplay has been a sign of hard economic times: young people without jobs spending far too much time wanting to become someone or something else. James Pethokoukis, a columnist and fellow for the American Enterprise Institute think tank, wrote – referencing mainly the cosplay craze in Japan – that “any rise in people fleeing reality for fantasy suggests problems with our reality”. Citing surveys that showed that young people in America are now less likely to spend their time playing and watching sport, economist Adam Ozimek argued that this is just a sign of changing youth culture – and actually, reflected a relative rise in prosperity: “I bet being a fan of cosplay is more correlated with higher wages than being a fan of football.”

But regardless of the numbers, it’s the creativity of cosplay which really enthuses me, as a teacher of design. Cosplay is giving (mainly young) people a new-found creative output. Many will have skilled up in researching properties of materials to the point where they become real masters of those materials. Creative skills such as sketching and design development also become the norm for many people who were novices.

For a large number of people, cosplaying can be the start of a lifelong journey into a design career – whether this be costume design, SFX make-up or product and prop design. For instance, the person who first got me into cosplay, Sorcha McIntyre, launched a graphic design career after attending events. It opened the creative doors to a vocation by giving her a chance to display artwork and exhibit her design flair.

Continue reading HERE.

What billionaires do in their free time will surprise you

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Almost everyone knows the success stories of some of the world’s wealthiest individuals but have you ever wondered how their life is like beyond what you see or read about online?

Not surprisingly, just like ordinary folks, high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) also need some time to escape from the everyday routine and pursue their passion outside work – but unlike normal people, they do it on a grander scale.

According to a recent Wealth-X study focusing on ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals, these are the top three passions and interests of the planet’s richest people:

  1. Art

Most billionaires possess an exquisite work of art and collecting the world’s rarest visual and artistic creations has been one of the top passions of many ultra-rich people. Some of them invest in thousand to million-dollar worth of art works not just as a way to diversify their portfolio but to simply have the full right to claim ownership to a beautiful masterpiece.

  1. Sports

Just like ordinary individuals, the ultra-rich love sports and they would invest not only their money but also their time just to support their favorite teams. In fact, their passion for the games also make them want to play it themselves. Some examples of popular sports among the wealthy are yachting, football (soccer), golf, tennis, and skiing.

  1. Philanthropy

Topping the list of the most popular hobbies of the uber-wealthy is philanthropy. According to the same study, more than a third of the world’s richest support and organize charitable activities. Many high net-worth individuals have been known to provide generous funding for humanitarian causes, child education, medical research, and even scholarship grants through several foundations. Examples of famous philanthropists are Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helú, and Li Ka-shing.

REPOST: Treasures: Getting a handle on secure investments

While they may seem impractical, items such as designer bags, fine art, and jewellery can actually serve as good investments. Luxurious objects are often rare and are therefore highly sought by niche markets. More insights from

Matte-white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin

Back in the early 1980s, the actress Jane Birkin was on a flight to London when she spilled the contents of her handbag. As she gathered her belongings, the passenger in the next seat suggested that she should have a bag with pockets.
She replied, presumably with gritted teeth, that when Hermès made a bag with pockets, she’d have that one. The man then announced himself as Jean-Louis Dumas, creative director of Hermès and the pair spent the rest of the flight designing Birkin’s ideal handbag.
According to Caitlin Donovan, handbag specialist at Christie’s in New York, the original design was sketched on the back of a sick bag.

Now, the Hermès Birkin holds the record for the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction. This May, a matte-white crocodile skin Birkin 30 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware sold for HKD 2,940,000 (€318,497) at Christie’s, Hong Kong. On November 29, the same auction house is selling another, similarly diamond-encrusted crocodile skin Hermès Birkin handbag (est €162,910 to €217,213).

Louis Vuitton Speedy 25

Handbags can be a serious investment. In January 2016, the online marketplace Baghunter published a study compared three different types of investments: the S&P 500 (an index that reflects the stock market); gold; and Hermès Birkin handbags. The research concluded that the handbags are by far the safest investment of the three as they’re not subject to fluctuations in the market.

Successful investment in anything requires knowledge, skill, and a keen investor’s instinct. These qualities are rare. So are Hermès Birkin handbags. You can’t just rock up and buy one. Only a few are made each year and there’s a six-year waiting list. It also helps to be a valued Hermès customer.
“Connections must be made and brand loyalty displayed before a Birkin is offered,” wrote Colleen Kane in an article for Fortune on June 23, 2015. “Or, if you have double the retail price to burn, you can hire someone else to source a bag.”

Handbag collecting combines luxurious objects with glamour, exclusivity, and a cloak-and-dagger aspect. It’s all very exciting. According to Monika Arora, founder of the online handbag boutique PurseBop, every serious aficionado has a Holy Grail Handbag (HGB). If your objective is to make money, the Financial Times (November 17, 2016) concluded that the best investment handbag was the Chanel 2.55 Medium Classic Flap Bag, which rose in value by more than 230pc between 2004 and 2016.
Paddy Coughlan of Designer Exchange, a shop that both buys and sells designer handbags, agrees that the Chanel Flap is a good investment. “If you’d bought one for €1,800 12 years ago, it would now be worth around €4,480,” he says. “We’ve had people buy one and sell it back to us a few years later. We’ve actually paid them to use it!”

There are also good returns on older handbags. Coughlan recalls a young woman who recently brought her grandmother’s vintage handbags into the shop. The old lady knew that the handbags were valuable. She’d been given them by her husband, who was a diplomat, in 1968 and she’d kept them very carefully. Before she died, she showed her granddaughter the collection.
“I’d like you to have these,” she said. “But I know you’re not that keen on handbags. Keep them if you want to. If you don’t, they’ll help put you through college.”

Continue reading HERE.

The most iconic company logos in their respective industries

There’s a reason why many companies invest in a good and well-designed logo and the most prosperous of them successfully created emblems that can only be associated with their brand.

In definition, a logo is more than just an icon or a visual design – it is a mark of identity that represents your entire organization. As a significant part of your company’s brand, it helps you stand out and get noticed even in an extremely convoluted marketplace. Let’s take a look at some of the most recognizable and iconic logos that captured the world and see how they contributed to the success of their respective companies.

  1. Apple

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The company’s current logo utilizes several variations of their famous monochromatic apple design; it also uses gray, black, and white finish.

Why is it effective? Aside from being one of the richest tech companies in the world, it has also become one of the most influential across continents so that anyone who see Apple’s logo is instantly reminded of its line of products: iPhones, iPod, iPad, to name a few.

  1. Nike

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It was in 1971 when the company adapted their current logo, the same year when they changed their name to Nike, Inc.

One interesting fact about it is, it was a graphics design student from Portland State University who created the design for the rate of $35.  The artist’s attempt to convey “motion” gave birth to what the world now knows as The Swoosh.

  1. McDonald’s

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The company has millions of branches scattered around the world and this makes them one of the largest fast food franchises globally, and inevitably, among the most popular.

Their logo, popularly known as The Golden Arches, was introduced in 1968. It resembles the capital letter M (clearly, for McDonald’s).  The original inspiration for the logo is from the actual arches that were part of the fast-food restaurant’s stylized architecture in its early years.

  1. Starbucks

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Starbucks is a global coffee giant and is among the world’s most profitable beverage franchises. While the Seattle-based company’s current logo does not make any sense (a siren with a crown and two tails?) to the regular coffee-loving customer, it is extremely recognizable. In fact, the emblem has been so iconic that it successfully garnered the company numerous prestigious design awards for its futuristic design and intricate details.

REPOST: Bigger than agriculture: How design became a multi billion dollar industry

Today’s economic and business spheres have been all about offering something unique and extremely useful. Companies have to continuously reinvent themselves in order to remain relevant and profitable. And in order to do so, they have to start from the very basic: creating value through design. Read this blog on The Spinoff to know how this creative aspect business is building a multi-billion dollar empire:

According to a new report, the design sector contributed over $10 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2016. Henry Oliver asks Thomas Mical, the head of AUT’s School of Art and Design, what that means for New Zealand design.

Designers know that their work creates value, but a recent report from DesignCo – commissioned by ten New Zealand institutions including AUT – confirms it, by quantifying design’s growing impact on the New Zealand economy. According to The Value of Design to New Zealand report, the design sector contributed approximately $10.1 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2016, about 4.2% of New Zealand’s GDP.

And if design were treated as its own industry rather than a sector within various industries, its contribution to the economy would be larger than agriculture ($8.1 billion) and on the heels of retail trade ($10.6 billion) and food, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing ($10.6 billion). Product design and interactive design are the two biggest contributors towards design’s economic impact, along with manufacturing, human health, financial, environmental and construction industries.

But it’s not just design for design’s sake. The report shows a strong design sector and national prosperity and economic growth. Further, design is a powerful tool of urban regeneration and a way to help solve complex and hard-to-solve problems in both the private and public spheres.

Thomas Mical, the head of AUT’s School of Art and Design, was trained as an architect and has thought a lot about the interaction of public and private spaces. He sees reports like The Value of Design as vital, not just for the design industry to prove it’s worth to the government and the private sector, but for designer’s themselves to understand their economic impact and the value of the work they do. And for Mical, who sees the future of design everyday in his student’s work, its value is only going to grow.

Continue reading HERE.