What we’re watching this week: 5/24/21

As we watch to see if the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that began last week will continue to hold, we’re also keeping tabs on the six-year-high gas prices—which may or may not fall given the restart of Colonial Pipeline operations—and how they could affect travel plans just as people begin to venture out again. In addition, here’s what’s on our radar this week.

Pay up

If you think you’re paying more for consumer goods these days, you’re not wrong. US Labor Department data from April show consumer goods prices rose 4 percent compared with a year earlier. With some supply chains already stretched to their limits and companies already holding back on charging people for their own higher costs during the pandemic, prices may continue to go up. What remains uncertain for the second half of 2021 is what consumers will be willing to pay top dollar for and what they’ll decide to trade down on—particularly as a portion of the discretionary income that went to some of these goods during the pandemic gets funneled back into travel and activities.

• The New York Times looks at how delivery apps are eating up our budgets, with some premiums being up to 91 percent more expensive.

• McKinsey delves into which consumer pandemic habits in consumer packaged goods may have staying power and how companies can navigate the coming year.

• Want to see where your own personal budgets may get hit? Check out The Wall Street Journal’s inflation rate calculator that allows you to customize your own consumer-price index.

A streaming dream?

The $43 billion deal announced by AT&T last week to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery sent the media and entertainment world into a tizzy: what would this mean for streaming? Could this new company compete (and possibly eclipse) the likes of Disney+, or would it go the way of the much-hyped, short-lived Quibi mobile entertainment start-up? As we watch traditional media companies try to compete with younger omnichannel outlets, consumers may—in the not-too-distant future—be paying for only one or two behemoth streaming services—and not half a dozen.

• The Ringer analyzes how the WarnerMedia-Discovery conglomerate could become the biggest player in the streaming landscape.

• Speaking of Quibi, Roku announced earlier this month that it will release 30 Quibi shows for free.

• BCG’s latest research on viewer behavior and preferences highlights what video-streaming companies should prioritize to retain customers.

Paris is always a good idea

Vaccinated travelers can now visit the city of lights and other EU countries. The news set off a slew of questions—not only about what’s required to visit but also how the near-halt of the travel industry for a year has changed the way in which airlines, governments, and tourism companies need to operate to be resilient for the future.

• You can purchase your plane tickets, but consider these six things as you map out your itinerary, according to The Washington Post.

• In this video, Bain & Co. looks at the postpandemic challenges airlines face.

• With 4.4 million jobs in jeopardy, McKinsey plots out a path forward for Spain’s travel sector.

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