Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Way To Save Newspapers? Kill Some More Of Them

Newspapers will survive technological change. But as this article correctly predicts, consolidation will save the newspaper industry. We have seen this same consolidation occur across many other industries as well. The cable industry is a great example. Where once every community seemed to have its own cable system, today it is dominated by a few. The accounting industry once included "the big 8"; but now most are gone. Even the auto industry was once populated with many manufacturers; not today.

Newspapers can return a healthy profit. "Industry EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) margins are 14% to 16%, according to a recent J.P. Morgan analysis of public newspaper companies. While that's well below the peak of 25%, newspaper companies are generally still reasonably profitable." Who survives and who doesn't will have to be left to who best manages through these tough economic times. Will the New York Times survive; I bet they will.

Amazon Launches HD Movie Rental and TV Show Sales

Have you bought a Hi Def TV lately? Big screen, awesome picture, not much to watch. Even the HD channels aren't always showing HD programming. Perhaps it even encouraged you to upgrade your DVD player to Blu-ray and bought or rented a number of movies. Cable, satellite companies and the telcos are all marketing their number of HD choices, both channels and number of shows. Still it may not be enough to satisfy that HD urge.

Well, more choice is coming! Amazon "said it will add more than 500 HD TV shows and movies to its Amazon Video On Demand service. Titles are from major networks and studios like Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Showtime Networks, with new-release movie titles including 'Twilight' and 'Frost/Nixon' and TV shows such as 'The Tudors' and 'Smallville.'" They can be downloaded directly to some HDTVs or available through the Tivo Series 3 or Roku players.

I have yet to pull the trigger and buy an HD TV set. I know I want a bigger screen and am looking at both the 52" and 55" LCD sets. Or should I reconsider Plasma. I know I don't want to spend a lot of money and am looking at less than $2500. But should I buy a Samsung, Sharp or Sony or look at lesser known brands like Vizio? Or wait till more sets connect directly to the web? Too many choices, too many variables, too many new models scheduled to be released. What to do.