What will return this year?
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Again, I have been distracted this quarter with the election and Covid data absorbing my life. Back to my Q4 insights into the media world and, at the end, my positive outlook on 2021.  

Here’s a pithy, curated recap of what I saw happen in the quarter, and my predictions for 2021. All the insights below are from conversations I have had, podcasts I have listened to and articles I’ve read. It only makes my list if I believe it and I have heard it several times.


  • Longest year ever 
  • Though, 2020, it could have been much worse
  • Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are now media companies. They are publishers in addition to tech platforms and the referees of journalism.
  • The pandemic has changed everything.
  • The big get bigger and the small get wiped out.
  • Post Covid-19, consumers have shifted from buying services and experiences to buying products. 
  • Big breakthrough technology comes in two stages: Stage one is doing things better, and stage two is doing things we have never thought we could do before, like self-driving cars.
  • Amazon is the sun—it feeds us and nurses us, but if you get too close it will incinerate you.
  • Some career advice: Leave ad tech and get into health tech 
  • I am starting a SPAC [special purpose acquisition company].
  • Everyone is connected and no one is in charge.
  • Right now it’s not illegal to be a monopoly, but it’s illegal to abuse your monopolistic power.
  • A crisis is a horrible thing to waste.
  • Google Search was one of the most important new technologies for improving human life. 
  • The federal government is a monopoly that can’t go bankrupt and has horrible customer service.

Big tech

  • Perhaps the tech companies have data on Covid and they know what’s going on but they’re afraid to share because then we will know how much data they really collect. 
  • Instagram will test shopping functionality inside Reels, a new TikTok rival.
  • Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Apple all have monopoly power.
  • Google, Amazon or Apple get ahead of the curve and spin off a major asset in 2021.
  • Facebook dominates the news media landscape and is largely unedited. 
  • LinkedIn stories feels like a mismatch. Who cares?
  • Is Google Chrome the second most valuable asset after Google Search?
  • Facebook acquisition of Instagram in 2012 is one of the best acquisitions of all time
  • Zero click search is an answer to a user’s question right at the top of the search engine results page so the user does not need any further information that would be gained by clicking the link—way too powerful 
  • Personalized advertising is under assault as Apple readies a change that would limit the ability of Facebook and other companies to target ads 
  • The Facebook algorithm is slowly ruining democracy.
  • Facebook is pure algorithmic amplification.
  • Now that Apple has launched its 5G phone, what is next for the iPhone? Folding, multidimensional two screens? 
  • TikTok isn’t acting like a company that might be shut down in the U.S.
  • TikTok is reportedly experimenting with longer-form, 3-minute videos.
  • Facebook said that just 6% of content U.S. users see is political, though they didn’t say how the company defined political content or give a timeframe that the statistic applies to.
  • Parler downloads soared as conservatives flock to the Twitter clone after the Biden win.
  • Instagram cautiously considers paying publishers.
  • Amazon pharmacy today—next we will see Amazon minute clinics inside of Whole Foods 
  • Facebook employees say post-election changes to its algorithm should be made permanent
  • Amazon, Google and now Facebook are pushing into cloud gaming, which could finally give advertisers a way into this market.


  • Disney is shifting its entertainment strategy to have streaming be its primary focus.
  • Com­cast is in talks with Wal­mart to de­velop and dis­tribute smart TVs, as the ca­ble gi­ant looks to be­come a dom­i­nant hub for stream­ing apps, not just TV chan­nels.
  • Nearly six months after the late-May launch of HBO Max, AT&T’S WarnerMedia and Amazon have finally come to a deal enabling the SVOD to be accessible on 40 million Amazon Fire TVs.
  • The Queen’s Gambit is the biggest limited series yet on Netflix.
  • Every movie should be cut into eight 30-minute segments and turned into a series
  • Quibi died 
  • Discovery+ will be DOA 
  • Warner Bros. announced that all of its 2021 film slates will stream on HBO Max at the same time the films play in theaters.
  • AT&T’s WarnerMedia is considering two new streaming services: one revolving around CNN, and the other based on TNT, TBS and Warner Bros. movies.
  • Disney+ will be the same price as Netflix in a few years.
  • Disney+ has 86.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 11, 2020.
  • AMC, the world’s largest movie-theater company, said it may run out of cash by year’s end if it doesn’t raise more funds or get more people back to theaters.
  • What will happen to the movie theater experience? 
Matthew Scott Goldstein

Matthew Scott Goldstein is a versatile and hands-on, data-driven consultant with deep knowledge of the media business.