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Transforming channels

Airbnb and SolarCity provide incentives for hosts to install solar systems

Airbnb partnered with SolarCity to offer financial incentives for hosts that install a solar system in their properties being rented. Hosts that install a solar energy system from SolarCity will receive a $1,000 cash back from the company. The offer is valid until the end of March next year, after which the incentive will drop to $750 for the rest of 2017. Homeowners with solar panels already installed and want to join Airbnb can also receive a $100 gift card from the company. The decision may appeal to travelers, particularly Millennials, interested in staying at an environment-friendly home. It could also help Airbnb establish itself as an environment-friendly company. The company published a study that says home sharing saves the environment billions of liters of water, tons of waste and large amounts of energy.

Key Takeaway: 

Airbnb and SolarCity have partnered together to offer incentives for hosts to purchase a solar system from SolarCity, which can help to position Airbnb as a sustainable company as well as attract Milennial renters that are interested in environment-friendly homes.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner draws regulatory scrutiny

AT&T is set to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, giving it control over the latter's massive content if the deal is approved by regulators. Time Warner owns HBO, CNN and TBS. The deal will give AT&T multiple sources of revenues including potentially subscription revenues and advertising fees. They could also earn from the data based on the content that customers consume. The deal has sparked criticism from regulators with US lawmakers calling for an antitrust hearing on the issue, reports The Washington Post. Some antitrust experts think the FCC should be involved in the deal as it can put the company's competitors at an unfair disadvantage in different ways, including favoring its content over competitors in its platforms, offering unlimited streaming of Time Warner content or overcharging competitors to gain access to its content. The acquisition could also encourage other buyouts, adding more consolidation to the industry. Other carriers Verizon and Comcast are also buying content as they can drive network revenues.

Key Takeaway: 

AT&T’s acquisition deal with Time Warner, producer of entertainment content such as HBO, CNN and TBS, for $85.4 billion received much regulatory scrutiny for antitrust concerns that the company can have massive control over the content that Time Warner creates, its revenues and distribution, which can be used to throttle competitors to favor its content and services.

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Publication Date: 
October 24, 2016

Rise in EV adoption will drive new opportunities for utilities

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance states that the electrification of transportation will present opportunities for utilities faced with stagnant load growth as well as increasing pressure to innovate with new business models that incorporate distributed and clean energy as a resource. It is estimated that electric vehicle adoption will have greater impact on utilities by 2030 as they will make up 3% of global energy demand. However, electric cars are not expected to be competitive to internal combustion engine vehicles until the mid-2020s. Utilities can provide specific rate plans designed for EV charging to cater to this new market, as well as new vehicle leases that take account negotiated electricity rates. They can also participate in the build-out of public and semi-public charging infrastructure. Autonomous cars and car sharing models can speed the integration of electric vehicles as demand response assets. Much opportunity is also in used batteries which is expected to hit the market in large quantities by mid-2020s. They will be used for grid storage, enabling more clean energy to be integrated to the grid, as well as introduce lower peak demand prices for public charging.

Key Takeaway: 

Rise in electric vehicle adoption driven by declining battery prices as well as autonomous and ride sharing models, will present opportunities for utilities to increase their bottomline as loads are expected to grow and enable them to venture into new business models such as new rate plans and vehicle lease structures.

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Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016

Amazon introduced its own music streaming app

Amazon introduced a music streaming service competitor to Spotify and Apple Music called Amazon Music Unlimited. Monthly subscription fee is same as Spotify, at $9.99, but for Amazon Prime Customers, the price is cheaper at $7.99. Amazon sees the connected home as the next battlefront for music streaming, after desktop and mobile. The company hopes to get customers to switch to its streaming service with AI features that enable users to play songs by quoting lyrics, mentioning the period when the song was released or through the use of adjectives such as playing happy songs on Echo using voice or through the Music Unlimited app. Echo users also get a discounted price of $3.99. It will be initially available only in the US. Aside from Spotify and Apple Music, Echo competes with the recently released Google Home, a smart speaker that also streams music from Google Play.

Key Takeaway: 

Amazon launched a new music streaming app called Amazon Music Unlimited which also works with the Echo device to play songs with artificial intelligence; the service is a direct competitor to popular streaming services Spotify and Apple Music as well as the newly released Google Home, a smart speaker, that streams music from Google Play.

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Publication Date: 
October 12, 2016

Amazon plans to open convenience stores and grocery drive-in centers

The Wall Street Journal reports Amazon may be planning to open small convenience stores that will sell consumer staples such as milk, produce and meat. It will also build drive-in stores that will serve as pick-up centers for customers who ordered groceries online. The retail stores will only be available to Fresh subscribers, said the report. By doing so, Amazon is competing head-to-head with Kroger, which is the largest operator of traditional supermarkets, and other food retailers. Geekwire reports Amazon may be building a drive-in store in Seattle. The concept may be the same with Kroger's ClickList online ordering and pick-up service which the company launched last year.

Key Takeaway: 

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon is planning to build small convenience stores and drive-in centers for groceries which will be open only to its Fresh subscribers; the stores will compete with Kroger's service called ClickList as well as other traditional food retailers like Wal-Mart.

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Publication Date: 
October 11, 2016

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