Current Projects

The Institute makes its research materials available through various publications, including books, working papers, and conference presentations. CITI currently has several projects in progress, which include:

Into the Next Generation of Media: Metaverse Markets, Economics, Policy, and Content 

Metaverse platforms have received much attention, both of hype and of doom. But there has been a shortage of independent and realistic analyses of metaverses as businesses and as platforms for third-party business use. This includes the fundamental economics of these platforms for commercial activity, as well as the implications for company strategy, investment, and public policy.  This project asks numerous questions about the future of metaverses, such as what are the viabilities of the expected metaverse activities, their market potential, the emerging industry landscape, the larger societal consequences, the policy issues likely to emerge, and the strategic options for companies? CITI will analyze the business economics of platforms and applications: the economies of scale and scope, network effects, upfront investment and operating costs, distance effects, transmission and storage costs, required network resources, etc. On the demand side, different scenarios of adoption will be considered, and revenue streams for transaction, subscription, and advertising will be reviewed.

Global Media International Concentration Project

CITI is a co-lead partner and engaged in a 40 country project analyzing the ownership and concentration levels of various media industries.  The project, organized by Carleton University and an extension of CITI’s previous project on Media Ownership and Concentration Around the World.  CITI is analyzing the ownership of industries in traditional media (Film, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Radio,Broadcast and Pay Television), connectivity (ISP, wireline, wireless, Cable and Satellite, and Submarine Cables), and new media (OTT Video, Digital Games, Music Streaming Services, Online News Media, Internet Advertising, App Distribtution, Search Engines, Operating Systems, Browsers, Content Delivery Networks, and Data Centers).  CITI's research will cover 1980-2026 across these various industries.

Into the Next Generation of Online Video: OTT Video 3.0

Two books on the subject (The Technology, Business, and Economics of Streaming Video: The Next Generation of Media Emerges and The Content, Impact, and Regulation of Streaming Video: The Next Generation of Media Emerges) have been published in January 2021. This project will continue to analyze the next generation of video OTT – whether in the US, Europe, or elsewhere – with the aim of providing advance briefing to industry leaders, policy makers, and the public. We will create an international consortium that brings together stakeholders, regulators, academics, and NGOs. We will examine the state of the second generation OTT market, and the prospects of the third generation. We will examine the possibility of bundling OTT services through intermediaries, and what the pricing structure of such a system would look like. We will analyze whether re-concentration is likely or if intermediaries would maintain a competitive landscape.

Principles and Options for an Open Global Video System that is Supportive of Domestic Culture

The goal of this project is to develop principles for supporting domestic content in online video while protecting global flows of information. This is an issue that has and will inevitably come to the forefront in many countries. Our project aims to create analysis and principles for a system that will ensure openness while protecting diversity. We are planning multiple conferences, roundtables, webinars, White Papers, as well as an international consortium of organizations.

Digital Financial Services

We are running a multiyear project on mobile payment technologies and their business, policy, and regulatory issues around the world. The new phase of this project is to develop a cyber security framework as it relates to DFS, encrypted payment systems, and the next generation of video. We will continue to hold multiple webinars, roundtables, and an annual summit, as well as publish six additional papers. On a very practical level, we are currently completing and operationalizing an actionable risk management framework that can be implemented by developing countries. Currently there exists no risk management framework designed specifically for the digital financial system in developing countries, to be offered freely. This project will bring together central banks, regional banks, tech industry, and financial players to operationalize our framework in a sandbox setting to demonstrate the feasibility of our product. This continued work is funded by a grant from the New Venture Fund, and builds upon our earlier work funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. White Papers include:

  • Regulation of the Crypto-Economy
  • Derisking and impact on DFS
  • The shadow of cyber-security on financial ecosystems in the developing world 
  • Role of New ‘Regtech’ systems in monitoring of and reacting to risks in payments and compliance
  • Detecting and Combating Money Laundering and Fraud 
  • Development of National and Regional Cyber-Security Detection and Response Systems in Developing Countries
  • Cyber-security and gender aspects in developing countries.

Blockchain’s Role in Video Distribution and Usage

This project will analyze the role of blockchain applications in dealing with the privacy, security, property rights, and payment transactions in the next generation of video. CITI will bring together experts in various fields, and will develop a White Paper. 

The Day After(I): An Action Plan for Resilient Digital Platform Infrastructures Serving Economies and Societies in Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated the centrality of the information platform infrastructure, broadly defined – networks, platforms, ISPs, corporate data operation centers, server farms, etc. – for communications, work, financial transactions, retail, medical services, and entertainment.  It is essential for such infrastructure to meet the demand spikes of unexpected crises, or else central functions of societies and economies would suffer. This project will provide countries with a.) an operational model for platform infrastructure asset inventory, b.) a model for crisis demand projections, and c.) a policy and investment action plan to create adequate infrastructure resources in advance of a potential crisis, and to design an allocation mechanism to enable priority sectors to function.

The Day After(II): Digital Society and Economy After the Corona Pandemic

As we weather the global virus outbreak, it becomes clear that this traumatic event will change economies, policies, and social patterns, well beyond the immediate crisis.  Effects will be seen everywhere, whether in infrastructure networks; content production and distribution; work arrangements; transportation and travel; educational systems; medical services; and financial services. The experience highlights the benefits of digital technologies, but also the importance of management, investment, innovation, and the policies surrounding them. As the digital applications in households and organizations accelerate, it is essential that the analysis of societal impacts and policies accelerates, too. This project will examine the likely transformations., their permanence, and their implications. It will identify problem areas and ways to handle them.  The project aims to arm policy makers, business firms, and NGOs with the information necessary to deal with the New Normal.

Impact of COVID-19 on Media and ICT Industries

Joined by the International Academic Media Management Association (IMMAA), CITI is organizing a series of webinars on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the media and ICT industries, both short-term and long-term, and both domestic and international. Webinar topics include: Video media, telecom infrastructure, tele-medicine, tele-education, as well as others.

Economic and Technology Options for a Nationwide Wi-Fi Network

This project will examine the possibility of nationwide Wi-Fi-based broadband systems to cover underserved areas in various countries, incentivize deployment, and raise access options for content.  It will discuss infrastructure needs and spectrum requirements; investigate cost and benefits; analyze the GDP benefits; and look at the organizational options.

Art, Technology, Commerce, and Society Program

CITI is co-organizer of this program, jointly with the IDC Herzliya Innovation Center. The goal is to examine the intersections of art, technology and commerce in society. The program, through panels and XR art & technology exhibitions, seeks to provide insights and analysis of the digital art markets. We include the engagement of experts in the art market, museums, art business analytics, engineering, social psychology, entrepreneurship, and government regulation.

Internet Governance

We are actively engaged with Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs’ project on Internet Governance. Over the past two years we have co-sponsored events on “Internet Governance & Cyber-security,” “Global Digital Futures Policy Forum,” “State of the Field on Digital Transformation,” and the “Global Digital Futures Policy Forum.”