Monday, September 11, 2006

"Nothing is lost upon a man who is bent upon growth; nothing wasted on one who is always preparing for his work and his life by keeping eyes, mind, and heart open to nature, men, books, experience. Such a man finds ministers to his education on all sides; everything co-operates with his passion for growth. And what he gathers serves him at unexpected moments in unforeseen ways." Hamilton Wright Mabie

Jimmy Cramer
writes about Sumner Redstone, why Les is hot and Tom was not...

"To me, Freston just didn’t know how to play the Wall Street game, the one that Redstone cut his teeth on and Moonves understood so well. All Freston had to do was say that there were some short-term concerns out there, such as problems with MTV and Nickelodeon, that could be fixed by some aggressive moves on the Web. Had he set the bar low, like Moonves did, he could have beaten the numbers and gotten the opportunity over time to negotiate takeovers of some high-profile Web properties like Facebook or YouTube. That could have funneled a new generation of young customers into Viacom’s ailing cable units and brought instant love from analysts who would have seen the company not as an old media dinosaur but as a new media leader—say, the next Google."

Good call Jimmy. I agree with what Sumner did, however, respectfully disagree with how he did it. Read JC's writing in New York Magazine here

A review of the new collection of writing by Pulitzer Prize winner David Remnick reminded me of something the great Gordon McLendon once said. Gordon stated that to be successful you need to...

"Carefully study what everybody else is doing, then, do the opposite."

Counsel, so it would seem, that Remnick observes...

"Celebrity culture is far from over; if you wrote a plan for a magazine and said you thought you could make a profit by publishing 8,000-word pieces on the future of various African nations, hefty analyses of the pension system and a three-part series on global warming, hordes of people would laugh in your face. So how has Remnick done it? Before I met him, I asked this of an acclaimed New York journalist, who said: 'If you can work that out, you will have the scoop of the century. No one knows.'"

Read Gabby Wood's "The Quiet American" via Guardian Unlimited Books here

John Higgins writing at B&C, Why The Cable Buzz Is Gone...

"Cable networks now have to fight harder for any increase in revenues and profits, and easy growth no longer covers up their mistakes. The buzz is gone. Online video subscribers have seized the buzz, are increasingly diverting viewers and will threaten to eventually steal ad sales. Wall Street rewards the prospect of high growth and yawns at the prospect of modest growth.

“It's a classic stage of the business life cycle,” says Tony Vinciquerra, president of the Fox Networks group. “You have to regenerate the business in some way and introduce new growth.” Tellingly, Vinciquerra has revived the slow parts of his cable portfolio and, hence, was the only network executive I contacted who was willing to discuss the issue on the record.

How did cable suddenly become old media?"

Read the entire article here. My thanks to creative whiz Dave Logan for the tip. Dave, as you may know, is ever the assiduous, pertinacious, scary smart and winsome professional.

Irrational exuberance remembered. Congrats and cheers to Tom Castro and his Border Media Partners. Tom has purchased the two San Antonio CBS Radio stations for $45 mil. More details here. What's with the "irrational exuberance"? A young turk media broker that I respect reminded me...CBS paid $90mil for those stations back in 2000. Now that was indeed irrational. Ouch. The months before the Spring crash of 2000 were crazy times. Folks were talking dope, the fundamentals of good business management out the window, reality suspended. Chatter about NASDAQ 5,000 was commonplace, a done deal. During those days I served as chief marketing officer at a dotcom. At an off-site gathering of c-level officers, one idiot was bold enough to declare "Profit means nothing, traffic is everything." He went on to say we were not spending money fast enough. His plan? "Spend every dollar of our last round in order to get another round." Brilliant! Last I heard that genius now answers to "clean-up on aisle #" pages.

Irrational, embarrassing, stupid. On September 10, 2001 we flew home to Portland, Oregon from Chicago. We arrived around midnight, minutes into the new day of September 11, the last of our holiday. Later, awoke to a call from family out east. That five years have gone by without first responders getting the radio spectrum needed to facilitate communication during a crisis is irrational, an embarrassment, simply stupid without excuse. Please join me this week in writing to members of congress about this urgent issue.

Blogging Hollywood: Steve Bryant noted for his good work at GoogleWatch, blogs Hollywood. Jump to his Reel Pop here. Congrats and cheers Steve!

No mas! Enough already. The collection of loons and fools that continue to front the conspiracy arguments about 9.11 need to seek professional help. The only thing worse, the worst of all in fact, is providing airtime to these whackjobs. Disrespectful hacks one and all. There is no story here period

400 year death spiral continues: Joe Hagan writes in New York Magazine...

"...the very business of selling newspapers is falling apart. The Web has gnawed away at the Times’ ad revenue, and as the cost of newsprint soars, the newspaper itself is literally shrinking: Next year, the Times will be 1.5 inches narrower, with 5 percent less space for news (not a huge loss, but a crushing metaphor). Under publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., whose family has operated the paper since 1896 and maintains majority ownership, the company’s shares have lost half their value since 2002, frustrating not only Wall Street but legions of stock-owning employees. While Sulzberger searches for new sources of revenue in what appears to be an ad hoc manner, he entrusts the editorial power to Bill Keller, who, famously, was not Sulzberger’s first choice to be in charge."

Read "The United States of America vs. Bill Keller" here

Whats up with the recent flood of faux Returned/Failed/Rejected email spam?

Peter Smyth gets it. As written here previously, Peter deserves high marks, his leadership by example is uncommon. From his latest "From the Corner Office" post...

"At the risk of sounding even more old school than I am, I still believe that public service not only matters, it's more important than ever before. A station license is not a right - it is a privilege and with that privilege come moral and ethical responsibilities to the communities we serve. We are not licensed to live and broadcast in the community and only take from it. We are expected to give back, in time, energy, involvement and commitment. It's our obligation, as broadcasters, to enrich our communities and make them better than the way we found them."

Read the entire post here