Archive for July, 2006
Monday, July 31st, 2006
Friday, July 28th, 2006
Welch and his peeps scratch at their musical roots in this post and comments. Sitting in DC with a spotty Tmobile connection (really bad these days right?) I’m reduced to such passtimes.
Thursday, July 27th, 2006
Mark Z. Barabak gives a good overview of the Internet’s trajectory in politics.
Since his story started out with the premise the Internet is causing audience fragementation, I’m grateful that he incluced my quote about de-fragmentation… the re-assembly of powerful audiences in new communities.
Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
Interesting to see the disconnect between investors in two industries.
NYT, a company with zero revenue growth year over year and rising costs, trades at 17 times profits.
And YHOO, a company with revenue growing 30% a year and stable costs, trades at just 20 times profits.
Monday, July 17th, 2006
CBS Corp. is enlisting eggs in its scramble to attract viewers.
The CBS logo and slogans promoting the TV network and its series will appear along with coded expiration dates on eggs sold by grocers — another promotional measure in the competitive world of television.
More than 35 million eggs will be marked with phrases such as “CSI: Crack the Case on CBS” and “The Class, New Grade-A CBS Comedy” as part of a deal between the CBS Marketing Group and EggFusion, an egg-coding company. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
The campaign will begin in September, when the fall TV season begins, CBS said Saturday at a meeting of the Television Critics Association. EggFusion, based in Deerfield, Ill., will use laser technology to create the expiration dates and “On-Egg Messaging,” the company said in a statement.
However, CBS isn’t putting all its eggs in one marketing basket. The campaign is part of what the network is calling its “Outernet strategy,” an effort to reach viewers “outside their homes as they go about their daily lives,” the network said in a statement.
Other networks have tried offbeat ways to attract viewers, such as putting messages about shows in public restrooms and Walt Disney Co.’s use of dry-cleaning bags to promote the ABC hit “Desperate Housewives.”
Nothing like hitting the right people at the right time with the right idea. Congratulations guys! (Free bonus: lots of people wrote about how stupid you are, so you get all that earned media too!)
Monday, July 17th, 2006
Good overview of the coming mortgage debacle:
On a personal level, however, there is going to be pain as homeowners struggle to make higher payments. In 2003, of all new mortgages, 10.2 percent were interest-only, meaning the homeowner paid only the interest for the initial period of the loan. According to Loan Performance, a research firm, 26.7 percent of all loans were interest-only last year and another 15.3 percent were payment-option adjustable rate mortgages, which allow homeowners to choose how much they paid each month.
In some areas of the country where homes are expensive, these loans were highly popular. In most California cities, as well as in Denver, Washington, Phoenix and Seattle, interest-only loans represented 40 percent or more of all mortgages issued in 2005.
Traditionally, interest-only loans and adjustable-rate loans were used by people who expected to live in a house only a short time, but such loans have turned into ‘affordability products’ as housing prices rose. The interest rate on the loans, while below that of conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgages at the beginning, resets after 3, 5, 7 or 10 years, depending on the loan. So, homeowners who took out loans in 2004 could find, for example, that their initial 4.25 percent loan climbs to 6.25 percent or 7.25 percent next year.
Someone now paying $350 a month for a $100,000 interest-only loan could be facing payments of $680 both because of the shift to the higher rate and because the borrower would have to start paying off the principal as well as the interest.
Friday, July 14th, 2006
Thursday, July 13th, 2006
Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
Many analysts are writing about the fragmentation of media audiences. And most, like this Fortune writer, moan about it:
I think the explosion of choice has left us poorer in at least two arenas. The first is journalism. (Yes, as a Fortune writer, I’ve got a stake in the health of the mainstream media, which bloggers call the MSM.) The network evening newscasts, big-city newspapers and the national news magazines once had the money, access, skills, commitment and power to deliver lots of original reporting and put important issues on the national agenda. Today, they are all diminished.
To pick a single, timely, example, The Tribune Co. announced just the other day that its newspapers would be closing foreign bureaus in Johannesburg, Moscow, Lebanon and Pakistan. This is happening all over newspaperdom and it happened years ago at the broadcast networks.
Yes, there is more information available to us than ever, but I don’t think we are better informed. Niche media will, inevitably, continue to weaken mass media.
The second arena where we are worse off is politics. This is related to journalism, as the moderate and responsible (okay, bland) voices of the MSM get drowned out by partisan, opinionated cableheads and bloggers.
Politics in America has become polarized for many reasons, but a big one is the fact that people can now filter the news and opinion they get to avoid exposure to ideas with which they disagree. Anderson suggests that this could well be a temporary problem, and that if the major parties continue to move to the extremes and the quality of debate continues to deteriorate, the Internet could well enable a new party or parties, to arise.
Mass culture provides intangible benefits, too. Big stars, hit TV shows and even commercials help knit a society together. Think of the feeling that comes a few times a year – the morning after the Super Bowl or the Oscars – when tens of millions of Americans share a common experience.
This analsys of course misses the fact that new communities are arising, knitting people together in novel and powerful ways. Something is being lost, but I’d argue that we’re gaining much more than a “mass of niches.”