The Disney Difference: Diversify and Cross Promote

dis earnFor the second time in as many days, a major global media company released results which suggested little adverse, or material, impact from either the writers’ strike or a feared slow down in advertising spending related to the economy.

As was the case with News Corp, Disney’s CFO Tom Staggs reported a “really strong ad market.” during Disney’s earnings call Tuesday.   Revenue at the Media Networks Division which houses ABC, ESPN and the other cable networks was $4.17b versus $3.79b for the same period a year ago.    Operating profit at ABC climbed to $322m, a 30% gain.  The rest of the cable networks had operating profits of $586m (up 27%).

Contrary to fears, the writers’ strike hasn’t had much teeth (so far).  Just the opposite, in the short term it may even be helping financially.  Click to Read More

Amazon Sells European DVD service to LoveFilms

lovefilm amazonAs sure handed as Amazon’s digital strategy seems to be, adjustments in forward planning are always necessary.  On Monday, Amazon made such an adjustment with the rare move to exit a market they were already targeting.

According to the announcement, Amazon Europe will sell their online video rental service in the UK and Germany to LoveFilm International Ltd in exchange for an equity stake.  Amazon will also invest cash.  The move will allow Amazon to focus on its core retail business and digital strategies but still allow them to retain a beneficial interest in their prior DVD rental investment.

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Murdoch Speaks: The State of News Corp

news corp q2After the close of markets Monday, News Corp released their second quarter earnings.  The numbers, which are reported below, were very good on an operating level despite slightly missing profit expectations. Also, in a true rarity for this earnings season, the company raised its guidance for fiscal 2008 operating income. 

More insightful than the numbers was the analysts call and Q&A. Rupert Murdoch’s participation is a little like a light version of Warren Buffet’s famous annual meeting speeches.  Mr. Murdoch is at times frank, occasionally reserved but always on point and extremely well informed.  At one point, he even corrected one of his colleagues on the numbers. What follows are some of Murdoch’s comments on the News Corp empire, broken out by theme:

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Yahoo Music: Back to Basics

yhoo rnwkRather than pulling the plug after MTV’s Urge music failed to catch on, Viacom (parent of MTV Networks) withdrew from the music subscription business by merging Urge with Real Networks’ Rhapsody and retaining 49percent of the joint venture.  Now, on a smaller scale, Yahoo is doing similar with their Music Unlimited subscription service. Yahoo Music Unlimited, will now be managed by Rhapsody America. Yahoo Music will refocus on providing features for their web traffic.

The strategic relationship announced with Real Networks today will be implemented over the next few months. During that time, Yahoo Music Unlimited subscribers will be converted over to Rhapsody. Click to Read More

Industry Standard: The Sequel

idg.jpgIn 1998 Patrick McGovern and John Battelle launched the Industry Standard as a news magazine covering Internet business.  They called it “the news magazine of the Internet economy.”  The audience grew along with the Internet industry and by 2000, with high volume ad sales, the publication had annual revenue north of $100m and staffing in the hundreds (450 by some accounts).  Then, as rapidly as they climbed, they fell.  Victim of the same bubble they were reporting on. The Industry Standard shut its door in August 2001.  Today, the magazine is being reborn; reinventing itself from a Web 1.0 publication to Web 2.0 social news website.

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Microsoft bids for Yahoo, Aims to be Ad Giant

msft yahoo ad takeoverSometimes rumors sound crazy.  Sometimes they’re so crazy, they end up becoming true.  Microsoft proved that early this morning with the surprise announcement of an unsolicited cash and stock takeover offer for struggling web giant, Yahoo.

Rumored at times to be possible, probably, and impossible, one thing a deal between the two never seemed was real. For more than eighteen months of chatter, partnership talk and innuendo, this prospect seemed like somebody’s fantasy.  Now it is shockingly real.

Microsoft has offered to pay $31 a share, which represents a purchase price of approximately $44.6 billion. The proposal would provide for cash and stock payment. Yahoo! shareholders will be able to choose either cash or stock, with the total deal being half of each. The offer represents a 62 percent premium above the closing price of Yahoo! stock on Jan. 31, 2008.

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Dear Jerry: Steve Ballmer’s Letter to Yahoo’s Board

breaking news With the widespread news of Microsoft’s unsolicited takeover offer for Yahoo now spreading across the news channels, here are the facts from their original source.

The following is the text of Steve Ballmer’s letter to Yahoo’s Board of Directors proposing the acquisition

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