Bond in Beijing

EBay and other companies ambitiously targeted China and drooled over the potential goldmine of revenue to be reaped from its gigantic population base.  Each aspiring effort has proved a costly struggle to realize.   (EBay recently restructured its offerings there.)

Casino Royal was recently released to widescreen audiences in China.   With over a billion potential viewers, Sony aggressively pursued the release which was scheduled for around 1000 screens.  Censors were given early access to review the film for objectionable content (Previous Bond movie Die Another Day (2002) was rejected outright).  Even Danielle Craig, the star, was in Beijing for the premier. 


The James Bond franchise finally making it to Beijing underscores yet again the promise and pitfalls of breaking into new international markets, especially China, where government controls make it among the most extreme environments for any would-be marketer to navigate and profit from.

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Google Q4 and Year–End Earnings

Google  (NASDAQ: GOOG), reported Q4 and Year–End earnings beating expectations and setting a new record for the company with quarterly earnings exceeding $1b.

Q4 revenue was up 67% to $3.2b.  Google earned $3.29 a share or $1.03b for the quarter.  Some analysts adjusted these numbers downward to a 24% (instead of 26%) tax rate for the quarter.  With that adjustment, Google still earned $2.99 a share, beating average analyst expectations by 7 cents.  On the negative side, commissions on revenue generated from advertising partnerships with websites (which are in the thousands) took 81% of the $1.2b in revenue from the partnerships.

Having beaten expectations for 9 out of the 10 quarters the company has been public, a lot is expected from Google in the market.  There is also some commentary and grumbling that that kind of track record indicates guidance from the company is too conservative and beating estimates alone doesn’t mean much.

For the year, Google earned $3.08b ($9.94 a share) on revenue of $10.6b compared with net income of $1.47b ($5.02 a share) on revenue of $6.1 for the prior year. Google closed the year with huge cash reserves ($11.2b) but Google also doubled their capital expenditures and almost doubled it’s payroll by increasing staffing to more than 10,500 employees.  

More detailed press coverage on Google’s finances can be found at:

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

Getty Images Q4 Earnings

Getty Images (NYSE: GYI), owner of and its own library of stock video and film footage, released earnings for the 4th quarter.

4th quarter revenues were up 9.5% to $203.5m. For the fiscal year, revenue reported was up 10% to $807.3m.  Royalty free licensing revenue was up 15% in Q4 and 13% on the year. Rights managed growth was down 1% for the quarter but up 3% on the year.

Film footage, as opposed to still images accounted for 5% of total revenue.

Internationally, 46% of Q4 sales were from the Americas.  46% originated in Europe, Middle East or Africa (EMEA).  Only 8% of sales came from the Asia Pacific region.

More detailed press coverage on Getty Images’  finances can be found at:

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

Publish(ed) Me?:

Of the thousands of hopefuls who line up to audition for American Idol there are invariably a few who can’t sing and don’t know it.  There are also a few contestants with phenomenal talents.  The vast pool of wishful candidates fall somewhere in the middle of these two poles.   For that hopeful majority, producers and talent scouts stand as the gatekeepers to commercial success.  These overworked middlemen are charged with the tough task of plucking the talents from the pile and throwing back those unworthy.  Some amazing talents will be promoted (and some not so amazing ones), and likewise, some amazing talents will be overlooked.  It’s the nature of the business; at least the way it’s been so far.


The same phenomenon exists in publishing too.  Many dream of writing the great American novel, or even some low brow burlesque romance tale, but select few navigate the rough waters from hope to finished draft to literary agent through publication.

Fortunately, in the views of many aspiring talents, the gatekeepers have lost some power.   Changes in communication and media technologies, specifically, blogging, net video and the music industry, have helped bring about Click to Read More

The Buzz Factor: marketing research tools

Combine one part traffic pattern analysis (who links in from what and leaves to where), a tablespoon of popularity ranking, two parts subject matter, a dash of keywords and a map showing the picture it all yields and you have a recipe for funding.   Buzz Logic, a San Francisco startup focused on gleaning market data from blogs and social networks  recently closed a Series A financing round with $9.6 m.

Considering Blogs are today’s water cooler conversations, it’s not a bad market to jump into.  Social media (blogs and social networks) are accessible to almost anyone, at any time, and provide a discussion forum for anyone’s rants and raves.   Does Red Sox Nation approve of the Bo Sox’ new pitcher? Ask the blogs.  Nintendo Wii or PS3? Ask the blogs.   Are horror/suspense thrillers still a hot film genre? Ask the blogs.   If you can get them to answer you might just have something.

Buzz Logic, differentiates itself from search engines, which rank popularity of a site or a search term. The Buzz Logic approach is to consider the popularity of subjects and speakers, in a moment and over time,  and then maps the spread of conversations to determine who the most influential members of a discussion are.  Click to Read More

Microsoft Q2 Earnings

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), reported Q2 numbers exceeding most targets but showing slight drag do to the delays with Vista and Office 2007.   

Revenue for the quarter was up to $12.5b from $11.8b.  Earnings were down to 42.63b from $3.65b last year.

Strong Xbox sales led to a 76% increase in revenue for the entertainment and devices division.  But with each Xbox sold at a loss, the division showed an operating loss of $289m on revenue of $2.96b.  Guidance expects 12m units to be sold by June.

The online services division, which is chasing Google and Yahoo showed an operating loss of $155m on revenue that was up 5%.  In the Search component of the division, for December ComScore Networks ratings showed Microsoft’s share of US searches down to 10.5% from just over 14% last year. 

More detailed press coverage on Microsoft’s finances can be found at:

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

Netflix Q4 Earnings

Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX), reported Q4 earnings.

The company announced earnings of $14.9m ($0.21/share) versus  $3.3m (excluding a $34.9m tax gain) in the prior year.  The returns beat consensus which projected $0.15/share. 

During the period, Netflix added 654k new subscribers.  Revenue was up 44% to $277.2m


More detailed press coverage on Netflix’ finances can be found at:

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

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