Posts tagged 'Media'

Food for thought on digital news consumption

With the freedom to publicise at a low cost at will, what place is there for the subset of writers and editors doing this for a living? Andrew Betts, director at FT Labs, opined in a recent TEDx talk that if media organisations are to weather the changing habits of consumers of news and analysis, technological innovations must occur. Read more

Breaking News

Upon closing of the proposed transaction, News Corporation’s shareholders would receive one share of common stock in the new company for each same class News Corporation share currently held. Following the separation, each company would maintain two classes of common stock: Class A Common and Class B Common Voting Shares.

Upon closing of the proposed transaction, Rupert Murdoch would serve as Chairman of both companies and CEO of the media and entertainment company. Chase Carey would serve as President and COO of the media and entertainment company. Over the next several months, the Company will assemble management teams and Boards of Directors for both businesses. Read more

Good News and Bad News

That’s 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York. Read more

News Corp, split reaction

News Corp’s share price at pixel time:

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Reading for News Corp shareholders…

Presenting ‘News International and Phone-hacking’ — the report in which a committee of British MPs voted 6-4 to conclude that ’Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company’.

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Netflix drops plans to split DVD and online

Netflix has buckled under pressure from investors and customers to make one of the most high profile US corporate strategic u-turns in recent years, backing off from a controversial plan to split its mail-order DVD and its online streaming media businesses, the FT reports. The move is the latest twist in four months of dramatic announcements and corporate restructuring from the company, during which customers and commentators have pilloried Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings over the changes. Richard Greenfield, analyst at BTIG, called the move a “necessary reversal of a bad decision”. Shares in Netflix had fallen 60 per cent since July, as investors and analysts reassessed the company’s long-term prospects. Netflix traded up modestly in midday trading, but the finished the day down 4.8 per cent to $111.62. “They’ve completely alienated their customers at a time when there are strong new threats,” said Shahid Khan, a consultant with MediaMorph. “I don’t think their stock is ever going to recover.”

Netflix to split movie and DVD business

Netflix will split its DVD-rental and movie-streaming arms, its chief executive has said, in a blog post apologising for the company’s stock price collapse in recent days. Reed Hasting said that separation of the DVD business into a new service, “Qwikster”, had been the reason for a controversial price increase for customers, the WSJ reports. The move might allow Netflix to clean up its profit-and-loss statements, and give analysts a clearer way to value the company, but Qwikster’s creation also signals that the DVD-by-email business has reached a dead end, argues GigaOM.

Netflix drops 10 per cent on price rise warning

Netflix shares have tumbled more than 10 per cent in after-market trading, following the company’s warning that a price rise will cause some customers to downgrade or cancel subscriptions, the FT says. Earnings per share of $1.26 in Netflix’s second-quarter results were above analysts’ estimates, but they took fright at the guidance for Q3 including projected subscriptions growth of 27 million, All Things D reports. The increase effectively hiked prices for some customers by sixty per cent, and will also raise the pressure on Netflix to strike new and better contracts with content providers, the NYT says.

Pearson beats profit guidance with 28% rise

Earnings per shares at Pearson, the education and publishing group and owner of the Financial Times, beat analysts’ expectations and the company’s own guidance on Monday when it announced a 9 per cent increase in its dividend. The FT reports that adjusted for currency fluctuations, divestment and acquisitions, full-year revenues grew 5 per cent to £5.66bn with pre-tax profits up to £670m, a 28 per cent increase. Adjusted earnings per share were 77.5p, ahead of the 76p indicated by Pearson last month. The dividend rises to 38.7p (35.5p), the biggest increase in a decade. Pearson said in a statement it was expecting growth in sales, profit margin and EPS in 2011, but did not give a figure. Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive, said: “These numbers add up to another excellent year for Pearson.

Antitrust spectre hangs over Apple subscriptions

Apple is dictating tougher terms of commerce on apps sold via its iPhones and iPads, demanding a 30 per cent cut of all subscriber content that will be sold directly through the App Store, the FT reports. News and magazine publishers had pushed for a subscription service, and for clarity about its rules, but the expansion of the subscription offer to video and music had not been expected. Publishers have been concerned that Apple will end up controlling the billing relationship with their customers, depriving them of valuable data. There is another obstacle — law professors think that the move could bring antitrust scrutiny, the WSJ says.

News Corp profit doubles

Net income at News Corp has more than doubled to $642m for the fiscal second quarter, despite deep cuts at MySpace triggering a $275m charge, reports the FT. The US media group said were MySpace results came in “below expectations”. Chase Carey, chief operating officer, confirmed the site “may be better developed under a new ownership structure”. Analysts have questioned bidders’ appetite, and Carey gave no indication of when MySpace might be sold, or at what price. The charge on News Corp’s digital media group came after MySpace cut half its staff and marred otherwise strong results, in which rising cable and broadcast television profits more than offset declines in film and digital media.

Amazon preparing Netflix rival

Amazon is developing a film streaming service that would compete directly with Netflix, the FT says. The company is planning to bundle access to the service with Amazon Prime, a premium service that guarantees customers unlimited free shipping of books and other items sold by the online retailer after paying an initial fee. Engadget released a purported screenshot of the leaked service recently. A source confirmed that Amazon was working on a streaming service. However, Amazon faces an uphill struggle if it is to overhaul Netflix in subscription video. Netflix shares have risen almost fourfold in the past 12 months as the company has built a dominant position in online film viewing beyond DVD subscriptions.

Have the media made the Greek crisis worse? Puh-lease.

Or, how FT Alphaville spent the fall and winter of 2009/2010.

We bring it up because some sociologist-boffin has penned a paper suggesting the media made the Greek crisis worse with their relentless coverage and “sarcastic” headlines (no name check for FT Alphaville though, disappointingly). Read more

‘A conscientious job’ in Chinese markets

1. Create a favorable public opinion climate for the two holidays [including Spring Festival] and “two meetings” (NPC and CPPCC). Do a conscientious job of channeling [public opinion] on such hot topics as income distribution, the stock market and property market, employment and social security, education and public health and sanitation, and safe manufacturing, explaining the issues and dissolving tensions.

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Change at top for Skype and Twitter

Next-generation internet stars Skype and Twitter have signalled a sharper business focus by appointing experienced operational managers to serve as their next chief executives, the FT reports. Twitter’s chief operating officer Dick Costolo will replace founder Evan Williams, while Skype has poached a rising star at Cisco Systems, Tony Bates. Costolo’s task at Twitter will be a formidable one, says Silicon Alley Insider — he now has to scale the social network into a mass advertising platform. Usually three CEOs within three years is a warning signal, TechCrunch adds, but it’s worth it as Twitter gets its strategy right. John Gruber at Daring Fireball isn’t so sure — Costolo and Williams could easily clash on product strategy in the future.

Disney interactive chief to step down

Steve Wadsworth, one of Walt Disney’s longest-serving senior executives, is to resign as head of the company’s interactive media group after more than a decade running the unit, the FT reports. Since Mr Wadsworth became president of Disney’s internet group in 1999, it has become one of its most closely watched units — but has struggled to become profitable, even despite a 2007 overhaul. Disney Interactive Media Group has launched interactive simulations, online role-playing games, and recently expanded into social networks, highlighting the problems media conglomerates have in capitalising upon new media, the WSJ adds.

Big Brother is watching/listening/scoping

Related link:
FSA presses for crackdown on leaks to media – FT

News Corp’s little bundle of joy

We’ve said before that getting this deal done wouldn’t happen any time soon, even in Europe.

But there are signs that News Corp’s bid to buy out BSkyB might end up ruffling feathers closer to home — and this time could end up getting it blocked altogether. Read more

Google plans pay-per-view films

Google’s YouTube video site is in negotiations with Hollywood’s leading movie studios to launch a global pay-per-view video service by the end of 2010, putting it head-to-head with Apple in the race to dominate the digital distribution of film and television content, the FT reports. Google has been pitching to the studios on the international appeal of a streaming, on-demand movie service pegged to the world’s most popular search engine and YouTube, according to several people with knowledge of the situation. At the same time, the Justice Department is investigating Comcast’s $13.75bn deal to buy NBC Universal over fears that the move could stunt the online video market, the WSJ reports.

Is Skype the one?

It’s been a year marked by inconsistency for initial public offerings, and the tech sector has been no exception. There was a long period of drought until three companies — RealD, Qlik Technologies, and Smart Technologies – filed in quick succession last month.

But until Skype filed today, following Demand Media’s filing last Friday, it would have been easy to forget that since at least the end of 2009, a number of analysts and venture capital observers have been waiting for a larger wave of IPOs in the sector. Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn, and yes, Skype, were all among the big names thrown around as possible listings. (To get a sense of the optimism, see this story quoting Renaissance Capital’s Paul Bard, or this interview with Mark Mehaney of Citi Investment Research.) The idea was that it would take just one big, successful filing for investor demand to explode. Read more

Amazon unveils ‘mass market’ Kindle

Amazon has made an early move to give its Kindle e-reader device mass appeal, with the launch of a $139 wireless-only version, Reuters reports. The new price lies just above the $99 price-tag that analysts believe would tip the Kindle into mass adoption, promising an e-reader price war, the NYT adds. With e-book margins being squeezed and devices becoming cheaper, the publishing industry will have to get more creative, the FT’s John Gapper observes. And using the device itself? Not bad, the FT’s Tech Blog says — but it’s no iPad.

Pearson triples first-half profits

Pearson, the FT’s owner, has raised its outlook for 2010 on strong growth in its Penguin book publishing and US higher education businesses, Bloomberg reports. Net income rose to $142.3m in the first six months compared to $43.2m a year earlier. Sales at the Financial Times group were up 9 per cent. Pearson still plans to avoid dependency on advertising revenue, the company warned.

Spotted outside Ofcom HQ

So, is Richard Desmond close to getting his hands on Channel Five?

Well… seen parked outside Ofcom on a blustery Thursday afternoon in London: Read more

Naspers takes stake in Russian internet group

Naspers, the rapidly expanding South African media group, on Wednesday said it had taken a substantial stake in Digital Sky Technologies, the internet company that controls Russia’s leading internet, e-commerce and social networking sites, the FT reported. Naspers exchanged its existing 39.3 per cent stake in its Russian unit, Mail.ru, which it co-owned with DST, and paid a further $388m to acquire a 28.7 per cent stake. Following the deal, DST will own 99.9 per cent of Mail.ru.

BSkyB in talks for Arabic news channel

UK television operator BSkYB is in talks with an Abu Dhabi-based private investor about setting up a 24-hour Arabic language satellite news channel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. The channel would be based in Abu Dhabi with bureaus in most major regional and international news centres and would be free-to-air, the newspaper said.

Transparency in banking

Any PR is good PR, eh? From the British Bankers Association’s Twitter feed:

China joins global media with network launch

China unveiled its most ambitious effort for greater international influence on Thursday with the launch of a global 24-hour English-language TV news network run by Xinhua. The state news agency said CNC World could be received in Asia over satellite this week and available around the world from next month. In early October, the company aims to have deals to get CNC World on cable channels in Western countries, the FT said.

BofAML blames the media: ‘tape bombs’ hurt the rally

Ethan Harris, head of economics research for North America at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, used an interesting phrase in a note published on May 28:

‘Tape bombs’ (npl) – news stories that have the effect of encouraging risk aversion Read more

Forget the wolf pack, the ECB hates the herd leaders

What is it with the ECB and animal analogies?

European Central Bank executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi is angry at the “herd leaders” — mostly published analysts — and the “wolf pack” markets that follow them. Read more

Dude, where’s my web of debt?

Ah, the power of infographics. You might have seen this nifty little NYT diagram of the links between Europe’s, err, porcinely acronymous debt-laden sovereigns:

Aaah! Big! Debt! Terror! Except the picture may not be so informative as it is striking, in fact. Read more