Print Advertising Up? : If you were one of the many who were ready to bury print, hold on to that shovel. News came from the Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) that print advertising was actually UP in the first quarter. Though it wasn’t up by much, the fact that print saw a .5% lift in the first quarter of 13 vs. the same quarter in 2012 is surprising to many. Has print found its level? Is the bleeding over? Is this the start of a print comeback (unlikely)? Who knows?
More time will need to pass before we can identify a true trend but what it does mean is that at least a temporary tourniquet has been wrapped around print advertising for the time being. Stay tuned on this one.
PC Sales Down: Speaking of trends, for the first time in forever, PC sales have been down for four consecutive quarters. Bad news for the PC industry as a whole and especially bad news for Microsoft who supplies all of the much heralded and ultimately much maligned Windows 8 operating system into all but Apple’s Mac PCs. Who would have thought that Bill Gates would probably end up spending more years of his life running his foundation than running the company that owned technology for so many years.
TV a Giant Mess: Aereo head Barry Diller, formerly Chairman and CEO of Fox from 1984 – 1992 and a trusted lieutenant of his majesty Rupert Murdock, is now on Murdock’s “hit list” (speaking in business terms only) as Aereo is offering consumers a cheap entry ($10/month) into the world of television using virtually all methods of watching a program other than a television. “Borrowing” the signals that are already “out there”, Aereo is bypassing the retransmission fees that cable and satellite operators pay to broadcast the station owners’ signals. Station owners who previously existed quite nicely on advertising revenue alone have now become dependent on both advertising AND the profitable fees that they charge. Having Aereo do an end around is not sitting well with the established industry and they were in court day one when Aereo announced their business model. But now, the horse is out of the barn and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. The one thing very clear is that TV like all other media is having to redraw the rules on the fly.
Original Programming: Remember when all TV programming came from the Big 3 networks and nowhere else? Then came premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Then other networks like AMC, FX and Syfy followed suit with quality original programs proving that the playing field had widened. Now we have Netflix creating its own quality programming (see House of Cards), and Google through its YouTube website creating original programming. One job I would not want to have today is head of programming at one of the Big 4 networks. Doesn’t sound like job stability to me.
“Would You Like Some Phone and Internet With that TV Programming? We are quickly getting to the point where we will not have independent phone, internet and TV providers. Time Warner Cable has been hocking their triple threat of cable, internet and now digital phone service for a few years now. Yesterday came word that Dish wants to buy Sprint so they can do a similar bundle. Only one problem. Sprint was already approached by Japanese telecom SoftBank that agreed to buy Sprint last fall. Now Dish is trying to up the ante. Seems to me these mega communication companies are going to eliminate competition and consumer bills will continue to rise.