Friday, October 31, 2008

Lots To Catch Up On...Coldplay, Google Books, Economy...

So I took a bit of a hiatus after a weekend away in the backwoods of upstate Pennsylvania (Potter County, aka: God's Country - Beautiful Mountains, Nice But Ass-Backwards Peeps, Great Fishing, Hunting), but time to get back to it...

I went to the Colplay concert this past Monday at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ (right next to Giants Stadium); really good concert which I saw from a luxury skybox; glad I went (especially because it was free and I was with friends), but would never pay for the skybox experience and would be hesitant to do that again; concerts are supposed to be a visceral experience, an assault on the senses, and the box literally and figuratively puts a barrier up between that. That said, I had a great time, and I thank the peeps who invited me to's some video footage from the concert...enjoy.

The Economy
Can we finally acknowledge that we are in fact in a RE-CES-SION? Not only did the U.S. economy shrank by 0.3 percent during the third quarter, but there was a 3.1 percent decline in consumer spending, the sharpest drop since 1980. And with the Holiday season right around the corner, it doesn't take a genius to see the writing on the wall that the upcoming holiday sales be one of the worst ever, further cementing the fact that we are indeed in a recession (despite The National Bureau of Economic Research still not officially labeling it as such).

This week marked the anniversary of the market crash of 1929, which triggered the Great Depression; the irony is clearly not lost on any of us, and frankly a bit eerie; let's hope it doesn't ever get to the point as it did in the photo below...

This past week Google settled two copyright suits brought by book publishers and authors in a landmark legal case that allows them to continue to scan books and make them available on the Internet. The deal will make it easier for Google, publishers and authors to profit from the digital versions of printed books.

Since Google announced this project four years ago, they've been working with the likes of Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Oxford as well as The New York Public Library to digitally scan books from their collections; Google has already scanned 7 million texts, including everything from classics to textbooks and how-to books. It will be interesting to see how this changes the publishing landscape as a whole, in addition to how this will affect Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Boarders, not to mention the longtail affect on technology gadgets (iphone, iTouch, Blackberry, etc.).

and finally...THE ELECTION

Yes, I had to save the best for last. With four days until election day, there's not much to say that hasn't been said to-date. Regardless of who you're voting for, the most important thing to remember come election day is this...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Clash of the Financial Titans

Looking to stabilize the economy and drum-up confidence, the treasury will be meeting with the big banks today to discuss the direct investment of $125 billion from the gov't in nine of the biggest U.S. banks. Led by Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the meeting - to be held at 3PM this afternoon - includes the likes of Ken Lewis, chief executive of BOA, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Robert Kelly, CEO of New York Mellon. many bank CEO's does it take to fix a financial crisis?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warner Bros to release films online before DVD' S. Korea

Warner Brothers Entertainment has taken the first step towards what many think will be the future of the entertainment industry by releasing its films online in South Korea before they are released in the country on DVD. Why South Korea? Not only does S. Korea have a high percentage of broadband penetration, but it's also one of the global leaders in DVD piracy, lagging only behind China.

Warner Bros is expected to reap the financial benefits by bringing forward the release of films online. Traditionally, DVD sales generate about $12bn a year, while rentals generate $7bn; the wrinkle is that studios take 20-25 per cent of the money from a rental but if the film is rented in digital form the share is closer to 70 per cent. Not too shabby...

What are the chances of this happening in the US? Not anytime soon, as 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to a May 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. While this is roughly 17% more than 2007, the US still lags behind 24 other countries worldwide when it comes to broadband penetration.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just Another Manic Monday on Wall St.

And the hits just keep on comin'...the weekly sh*t-astic Monday financial news continues to suck as today stocks tumbled around the world, the Dow dropped below 10,000 for first time since 2004, the euro fell the most against the yen since its debut, oil dropped below $90 a barrel, and the US is still reeling from the news that the American economy lost 159,000 jobs in September, the worst month in five years. Oh yeah, and that Citi/Wachovia deal - fuhgetaboutit - Citigroup has sued Wells Fargo and its takeover target Wachovia for $60 billion (peanuts right?), citing "the unlawful conduct of Wachovia, Wells Fargo, and their officers and directors and outside advisers." So much for shoring up consumer confidence with the financial crisis...great timing boys.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Pew Poll Shows Obama Lead Growing

I'll caveat this post by saying that I'm not a real big believer in political polls. That said, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has gained a 7-point lead over Republican rival John McCain in the wake of their first presidential debate. Pew cites several factors for what it calls Obama's "significant lead" over McCain, including Obama's performance in the first presidential debate, as well as voter confidence in Obama's ability to deal with the financial crisis.