DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. became famous for their animated movies such as Shrek, Kong Fu Panda and more recently, The Croods. Although DreamWorks is known for its success in animation, it is branching off in a different area. They have recently agreed to purchase a YouTube channel called AwesomenessTV for $33 million.
They believe this channel will bring them a faster growing and more diverse consumer pool as they move toward using YouTube as a medium for their digital strategy. AwesomenessTV which has launched on YouTube in June 2012 quickly became one of the most subscribed channels by teens. DreamWorks believes they could use this acquisition as a way to reach out and advertise toward over the fourteen million subscribers and eight hundred million video viewers.
The chief executive officer of AwesomenessTV is Brian Robbins who is famous for producing shows like “One Tree Hill” and “Smallville.” These shows parallel as his YouTube channel consists of programs like teen girl talk show, comedies, dramas, and music. This is relevant to most people as many of us frequent YouTube and this acquisition could lead to extended ads relating to DreamWorks and their projects.
Innovation and new inventions sprout daily and can revolutionize the way people live. Specifically it could alter the way news or information is spread. For example, throughout history the travel of information through various mediums have went from radio, then to TV, from network to cable, and now it is through the Internet.
YouTube, owned by Google Inc., has original content that anyone can put up for the rest of the population to view. This is a great platform for advertisers to reach consumers as over one billion people visit YouTube each month. Those viewers spend over six billion hours on the website watching videos. YouTube could potentially be the next place advertisers look to place their ads as an alternative to broadcast television.
YouTube has generated roughly four billion dollars in revenue last year and are projected to grow even more. This change from radio to television and now to internet is an advancement that will affect all of our lives. I am pretty sure everyone here frequents YouTube and has seen ads already on the website. This major shift for advertisers could reach various demographics by doing this and it will alter our video streaming experience that we will notice on a rather constant basis.
Sprint Nextel Corp has two offers to get taken over by either Dish Network Corp. or SoftBank Corp. Due to this dispute, the two companies are bidding and are bitter. Masayoshi Son who is the chief executive of the Japanese Internet and telecommunications company Softbank Corp, has made the roughly $20 billion acquisition of 70% of Sprint. However, since the deal is not fully through the approval process, Dish submitted a competing offer that would pay more in cash to Sprint shareholders.
Even though Dish has a higher monetary offer, Softbank still believes it has the strongest offer. This is because the deal will be done quicker, leaving shareholders with less debt and will provide Sprint with better leadership and mobile-industry expertise compared to Dish Network Corp.
However, Dish believes its offer is superior as it will lower costs because of the ability to offer combined wireless and video services.
At this point it could go either way or even end up as a three way deal. Where Dish would have a rented space on Sprint’s network as long as Softbank’s deal goes through. I personally believe Sprint will be acquired by Dish due to the monetary bonus and the appeal of diversifying their products.
Iron Man 3 created by Walt Disney Co. opened internationally this past weekend. Overall, the movie grossed roughly $195 million on Sunday alone after opening in most countries. Although Iron Many 3 has yet to open in the United States, Canada, Germany, China and Russia it is expected to have a huge opening night in their given countries. Specifically in the U.S and Canada, it is projected they will have an opening of well over $100 million.
These earlier openings in foreign countries are largely due to the May Day holiday on May 1st. The May Day holiday is when many foreign adults and children have days off of work and school. Disney also used this strategy last year when they came out with The Avengers.
This movie premiere affects many people indirectly and directly as it employs hundreds if not thousands of workers to help make the movie possible. I am personally excited about this movie as I enjoyed both Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
The Drug Maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is negotiating with Actavis Inc for a possible acquisition. Valeant is thinking about acquiring Acatavis for well over $13 billion dollars. This is significant because Valeant would be essentially taking over their main rival. If this happens it would count as one of the largest health care deals this year. Valeant is offering over $13 billion dollars because that is Actavis’s current market value plus a premium.
Acatavis is the third largest generic drug company and has generated revenue of close to six billion dollars last year alone. Most of their income comes from unbranded, generic goods however they also sell branded drugs specifically for women’s health.
On the other hand, Valeant produces both generic and branded drugs along with over the counter drugs. They also specialize in skin care.
Although this deal is very unstable, there is still a chance that the two companies will reach an agreement. This is extremely relatable to me because this acquisition could potentially lead to cheaper products. Just recently I had to purchase generic allergy medication.
LivingSocial which gives users daily deals has recently been hacked. During this breach the hackers have gained various data on over 50 million users. These online criminals stole e-mail addresses, user names and dates of birth for many users. Fortunately for all the users and the company, none of the credit card or banking information was stolen. This however, does not mean the information stolen was not valuable. The various passwords, usernames, and birth dates still have value. A single password even though encrypted can sell for twenty dollars on the black market.
LivingSocial is not the only website that has recently experienced a cyber attack. Popular websites like Twitter, Facebook and even Apple have been under attack by various hackers.
LivingSocial have been resetting the passwords and alerting consumers of the recent attack. Also they hashed and salted the customer’s passwords which means they scrambled the passwords and added random digits to make hacking harder. I think this is extremely important as the various information that could have been obtained is very valuable and could be abused if in the wrong hands. That corruption could affect the lives, credit, financial stability of many people.
The New York Times Company has been facing declines in first quarter revenue. In one year the income per share has fallen from 28 cents to 2 cents. This huge loss in net income is largely due to the decline in advertising revenue. New York Times executives attributed the loss in advertising revenue to the decline in spending by movie studios and real estate developers.
Despite the loss of income, The New York Times as a paper this past year has been successful. Their overall circulation revenue rose by over six percent. This is because more people are subscribing digitally and because of the hike in prices for print newspapers.
Even though the amount of subscriptions both digitally and print have rose, they are still making strides to expand. As Mark Thompson, The New York Times president and chief executive stated, “We will be rolling out other strategic initiatives designed to further leverage The Times brand and newsroom to create new products and services for a wider range of customers, domestically and around the globe.”
J.C Penney Co. has been in a state of turmoil due to a very deep decline in sales. The blame for J.C. Penney’s sales decline has been placed on the former Chief Executive, Ron Johnson. His revolutionary plan to cut sales in favor of everyday low prices has backfired and alienated many of their “bargain” shoppers. This untested strategy which failed essentially led J.C. Penney to replace Ron Johnson with his predecessor, Myron “Mike” Ullman. Another hurdle Penney is trying to pass is the legality of selling Martha Stewart brand goods, exclusively at their home department.
Despite their unstable position, Financier George Soros purchased roughly a 8% stake in J.C. Penney Co. which expresses confidence in a better future. Soros Fund Management LLC acquired around 17.4 million Penney shares and this helped raise some funds for Penney’s deteriorating cash flow.
This is not only extremely important, but also relevant to all of our lives. Most of us have been to or seen J.C Penney. The failure of this major department store could have catastrophic effects on our economy.
The Twinkie returns, but Metropoulos & Co and Apollo Global Management LLC who purchased the Hostess Brand said it will not be hiring union workers. Chief Executive Dean Metropoulous purchased the Hostess Brand with Apollo for roughly $410 million dollars. In January 2012, Hostess Brands Inc. sold its brands and its factory plants because it filed for bankruptcy protection. They were forced to file for bankruptcy as the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union called for a work stoppage after new labor terms were imposed.
Since Hostess didn’t have enough workers they sold off the Twinkie brand and 11 plants to Metropoulos and Apollo. Chief Executive Dean Metropoulous said he will invest roughly $60 million in capital for plant renovation and to hire workers. They plan on opening less plants because they aren’t using union labor but feel if they increase efficiency they will be successful.
This is important because a well known brand snack like Twinkie will have a considerably large market of consumers craving the classic treat. I remember specifically my first semester at Baruch, I bought a Twinkie and documented it as one of the last Twinkies I will ever see. It’s a big deal and I will definitely purchase the snack when it comes out. Unfortunately for Union labor they will be out of jobs, unless Metropoulos and Apollo run into problems involving unskilled or lack of labor.
As time passes we see more and more of a consumer interest in things on the go. For example food, news, games, and even movies and television shows are all becoming mobile. However, many of the television shows we have on our mobile devices are streamed illegally or without the permission of the broadcast TV station. Despite the loss of sales and overall negative effect of streaming, major TV stations like CBS Corp. are taking a different spin on the subject. They are trying to integrate the consumer demand of streaming into their service to create future growth opportunities.
CBS Corp. has recently invested in Syncbak which is a company that allows TV stations to stream programming to consumers over the Web. With this technology, “broadcasters can fight unauthorized internet distribution of their content.”
I believe this technology if implemented correctly will be a big selling point for major television shows. All of us have a favorite show or series and most of the time we are never up to date. This technology can enable us to stream directly from the provider insuring its quality, and legality.
Japanese Car companies have been losing customers in China, therefore Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have been releasing their new models in the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. Toyota introduced two lower cost vehicles to appeal to current Chinese families while Nissan and Honda introduced new models never before seen in China. If the new sports vehicle or model wasn’t appealing enough, the Car manufacturers are emphasizing better warranties and customer service to build a stronger and more stable perception of their cars. The biggest problem that these Japanese Car companies face is their reputation. The Chinese populous does not like Japanese cars and will even revert to violence toward people that support Japanese companies. For example a Chinese man was beaten in front of his family for driving a Toyota. This strong social pressure has and will continue to lower Japanese exports of vehicles, unless the companies can alter their image for the better.
This affects us directly as Car companies export around the world like many other products and because of this the global economy is very intertwined. If the Japanese Car companies are suffering and lose profits, they could potentially go bankrupt and shift the car market/industry dramatically. I believe by showcasing newer, more innovative models in China while increasing other incentives, they will sell more and eventually win over more of the Chinese population.
Many resources that are mined and extracted have dropped significantly in price this past month. Resources anywhere from gold, silver, oil, aluminum and copper have seen a dip in prices. During the financial crisis many commodities and resources have rose in value. However, this past month shows otherwise.
When looking at year 2000 to March, you can see a general rise in gold prices, copper and oil, which they called a “supercycle.” Many expert economists believe we are entering a phase of declining prices for those resources. Although most economists suggest we are currently going to see falling prices, they have very different views for the future. Professor Jacks teaches economics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and believes that since most commodities are finite, population pressures and industrial growth will eventually rise the costs of the limited resources. Mr. Jessop, who is the chief global economist and head of commodities research for Capital Economics in London, on the other hand believes gold will recover while the other commodities will decline for a period of time. Mr. Jessop believes this because gold is often used as an alternative to currencies.
This affects us directly as the consumption of oil and other finite resources happen in our daily lives. This dip in prices could essentially save us some money.
As time passes we see an everlasting push for innovation, this is especially true when looking at hiring, promotion and career planning. This new technology, named Work-force science, compiles large amounts of data analysis called Big Data. This data consists of e-mails, instant messages, phone calls, and even mouse clicks. All of these combined can potentially allow companies to hire more efficient workers.
Companies believe Big Data is a valuable asset, therefore many companies like I.B.M have been acquiring companies that hire and train like, Kenexa to survey and assess job applicants. Companies like Google are moving away from numbers and grades, and are implementing data-driving decision making when hiring. Google believes its most innovative workers are those who are “happiest,” which are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work.
This new push toward using Big Data can making the hiring process more scientific and a lot less subjective. This transition lowers the risk in hiring as many companies won’t be hiring on a gut feeling. This affects us directly because we are all going to go through the hiring process and maybe one day we’ll be taking multiple surveys instead of multiple interviews.
Pepsi Co. has dropped in first quarter earnings due to restructuring efforts and potential structural changes for its North American drinks business. Pepsi’s drinks business has been outperformed by its snacks business which includes brands like Lay’s potato chips and Quaker oatmeal. This could mean that Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP could be pushing PepsiCo Inc. to split its snack and drink businesses or to merge with Mondelez. Trian’s holds roughly $1.4 billion in stakes in both PepsiCo Inc. and Mondelez International Inc. combined.
Since PepsiCo’s drinks business has lost market shares during the first quarter to Coca-Cola Co. I believe Train and other investors will push PepsiCo into splitting it’s drink and snack businesses. PepsiCo’s chief financial officer named Hugh Johnston said the company is looking ” at all available options to create shareholder value.”
This affects us directly as many of us purchase these name brand products on a daily basis. This large scale merger or acquisition could potentially alter prices.