The founder of BET, Robert L. Johnson, just announced he's going into a new business--one that has very little to do with his media background. He's going to be buying and operating car dealerships in the southern and midwest regions of the country, partnering with the McLarty-Landers Automotive Group.
Congratulations to ESPN The Magazine and BusinessWeek for putting together an awesome sports business issue. It's a must-read if you like the business of sports. Their Power 100 is of course meant to be debated, so I'm going to make a couple comments here.
Just a few hours after I reported the new contract between GM and the UAW, I started hearing this question: "Can GM really boost its bottom line now that its costs have been lowered?" My gut says it can do it, IF the company builds on the improvement of its products in the last couple of years.
A couple of days home sick with daytime television as your nursemaid can tell you a lot about the current state of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical advertising. Yeah, we all know it's ubiquitous, but there are at least a couple of noticeable new players and an older one hitting the airwaves.
No matter what happens with the New York Knicks sexual harassment trial, the fans won't turn away. All the crisis PR people who keep going on television and talking to the newspapers, whining that the Knicks "brand" is getting damaged, should challenge themselves to come up with a number of people they think will not renew their season tickets solely because of this.
Consumer crisis or not, we're three months and counting until Christmas. Americans will still shop for the holidays but the question is just where they'll buy and how much they'll pay for this year's presents. Will we have a merry or mediocre Christmas?
Rumors are flying about Microsoft's interest in investing in a 5% stake in Facebook--a stake that would value the social networking upstart at some $10 billion dollars. Viacom and Yahoo have both made bids for the company, Google is reportedly interested (though co-founder Sergey Brin told me back in July that they weren't pursuing Facebook) and now Microsoft's offer is shaping up.
"And there are hundreds of small roasters that roast for convenience stores and coffee shops, and they've mimicked our brand. I mean, competition, is it good? I don't like it, I don't need it." So says Jeff Rosen as he and I stand in his Woodside, New York warehouse.
CBS CEO Les Moonves, wanting to dispel concerns that an economic slowdown would hurt ad sales, said that CBS ad sales are up 30% in the current scatter market, at Merrill Lynch's Media conference.
What do Vince Neil of Motley Crue, the Governor of Nevada, O.J. Simpson and I all have in common? We were all in Las Vegas this week and three of us talked to each other. (Sorry Juice but you had split by the time I thought of it.) So what did Vince, the Governor and I talk about? Business.
Free is the big trend these days when it comes to TV and newspaper content on the web. Television networks and newspapers are adopting free, ad-supported models online. They're ditching pay-per-episode and subscription services to go after a bigger audience and higher profits. The new approach? More, more targeted ads.
EBay is exploding with all things O.J. In the past week, 770 Simpson-related items have been sold compared to 337 items in the three months before that time. Not everything is going to come to market, but I thought it would be fun to throw out the best of what might one day emerge.
There was a time when the idea of crude oil hitting $100 a barrel would have sent the auto industry into a panic. Funny, with oil now trading at roughly $82 and with a growing number of forecasters saying $100 is a possibility, the bread and butter big rigs (SUVs, pick-ups, crossovers) are still selling. People still want them, even if there's a greater chance of gas prices rising. Why?
I'm clearly not normal. At least,that's what I understand when I hear that flat panel TVs, GPS systems, computers and video games are at the top of gift request lists again this year. I only bought a new iPod when my old one died (Apple customer service leaves a lot to be desired) and I couldn't begin to tell you any details about my TV, other than it fits my entertainment center nicely...
Yahoo's take at Internet 2.0. Since Jerry Yang took the helm at Yahoo again, the Internet company's been trying to get back on track. And that means not just getting its ad strategy sorted out, but also starting to compete more with some of the more innovative Internet 2.0 companies, which of course means Facebook and social networking.
Facebook had a pretty smart deal: get innovative kids to create applications for its site--the kind of cool functions that they want to use, which means higher traffic and more ad dollars. But now, Facebook is going to start compensating those innovators, launching a $10 million fund.
We all know them. The person who swears they'll never drive anything but Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus. When it comes to brand loyalty and the prospect of considering different brand cars and trucks, the foreign guys have enjoyed the type of loyalty American car companies crave.
You know the guy that spent $752,467 for Barry Bonds' home run ball No. 756? He's designer Marc Ecko and he's allowing fans to vote on whether the ball should be sent to the Hall of Fame, branded with an asterisk and then sent to the HOF or launched on a rocket ship.
Since when does scandal stop anyone in Hollywood? It's certainly not stopping HBO's former CEO Chris Albrecht, who was forced to resign from the top spot after he was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend in a Las Vegas hotel parking lot.
At the end of every golf and tennis tournament, the champion gets a trophy. Unless it's the grand slams, these trophies don't have any tradition. So it's a clean slate: Do anything you want, but make sure it's something that gets attention for the big sponsor.