Tribune sells small Conn. Papers

With rumors of mergers and acquisitions still swirling, Tribune Co. today sold the two smallest (by circulation) newspapers in its portfolio to Gannett. The Greenwich Time and the Stamford Advocate have modest readership but are in premium advertising market. (As much as any newpaper ad market could be considered premium in the currently difficult print ad marketplace.

At a sales price of only $73m, the transaction is small for Tribune but it fits with the company’s stated goal of liquidating at least $500m in non-core assets. The sale may or may not help with Tribunes ongoing effort to sell itself as a whole.

Bookmarking Revisited: the retail components

Friday  I spoke about the latest trend in Web 2.0 book-marking technologies, "Social Clipping Services" like Kaboodle, and Google Notebooks.  As a consumer, I love the features these companies are providing.  Any tools that make my routines and work easier are welcome.   But as a business analyst?  Yesterday I couldn’t restrain my skepticism.   

Maybe I’ve been watching too much of the National Geographic Channel but I see companies offering solely these services and the image I have is: a Manhattanite dropped in the middle of an African Savannah with a Swiss Army Knife and a smile.  The New Yorker may make it out alive, but odds are against it. 

Yesterday, I excluded discussing aspects of Clipping Services geared toward retail and merchandising .  My goal was to stay on topic (Media Entertainment and Technology) and avoid tangents.   I focused only on using the tools for interacting with news and published data.  Clipping services which provide a retail/merchandise focus neither fit my broad focus of media, entertainment and technology convergence, nor yesterday’s narrow focus of working with published data on the web over extended periods of time. 

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Bookmarking 3.0

For a writer, strategist or researcher, or anybody looking for information with purpose, the internet is a phenomenal tool.

Even if search engines only provide access to less than 1% of what’s out there on the web (see Bright Planet white paper on Deep web), what is accessible is, on its own scale, overwhelming.    It’s also overwhelming to work with. 

Who hasn’t run even an obscure search only to be bombarded with thousands more results than wanted, not counting the irrelevant, the unwanted, or the obtuse. And what do you do once you’ve found what you were looking for? Print outs reams of pages? Cut and Paste a quotation from a document to another? Manually plug stock quotations into a spreadsheet?  Or maybe you bookmark a page for later, even though basic book marking functionality is nothing more than a questionably organized archive who’s files sometimes get lost (page not found error?).

Admittedly, none of this matters if the question is a one time thing like the lowest airfare from New York to Boston, or whether the Red Sox beat the Yankees at Fenway. The challenge is with data reused over time like:  if you’re writing a business plan and need reams of market data; if you’re a Venture Capitalist trying to evaluate that business plan; if you’re an analyst, an amateur journalist, a compulsive vacation planner, a student …. if you are anyone looking for more than instant gratification.   

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Viacom Q4 Earnings

Entertainment conglomerate Viacom (NYSE: VIA), reported Q4 numbers easily beating analyst estimates. 

Net income was up to $480.8m compared to $129.5m.  Revenue increased 32% to $3.59b.  Operating expenses were up 20% to $2.76b

Movie business showed profits of $86.3m on revenue of $1.57b.  DreamWorks added $560m to the topline.  TV businesses which include MTV, Comedy Central, and Spike TV saw positive earnings growth of 11%

Compared to last year, the numbers were helped by Viacom’s $1.6b purchase of DreamWorks. Viacom also faced charges in last year’s Q4.

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

Yahoo Finance
Google Finance

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