Category Archives: Business

Global Media Companies Continue Slide Against Changing Tech Climate | Sep 28 2017

Shares of U.S. Media Companies Set for Worst Month Since 2015

|| Wall Street Journal

Traditional players struggle to adapt to shift toward streaming services

“By Michael Wursthorn / WSJ

Shares of cable providers and entertainment companies in the U.S. are suffering their worst stretch in nearly two years, as traditional players struggle to adapt to a shift toward streaming services.

Americans are ditching television subscriptions in favor of viewing movies and TV shows through online services. The move disrupts a delicate ecosystem of media companies sustaining themselves on subscription fees from pay-TV providers, and echoes Amazon.com Inc.’s upending of the brick-and-mortar retail landscape.

This development, along with disruptions related to major summer storms, has been pushing down stocks of major cable and broadcast companies.

In a sign of the diverging fortunes, Roku Inc., an early player in streaming television, priced its initial public offering late Wednesday. The IPO price valued the company at about $1.3 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal.

A group of 13 media companies in the S&P 500 have fallen 3.5% so far in September, on track for its steepest monthly decline since December 2015, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.4%.

Media shares got a bit of a reprieve Wednesday, rising 1% in their biggest gain since late July as the group joined an upswing in the broader market. Doug Mitchelson, a media analyst with UBS Group AG, attributed the gains to the Republican tax overhaul, which was unveiled Wednesday and proposed sharply reduced tax rates on businesses and many individuals.

“One of the top reasons for cord-cutting is affordability,” said Mr. Mitchelson. “A healthier consumer is a better spender for media companies.”

A selloff in the sector gathered pace on Sept. 7, when two industry giants gave updates that disappointed investors. Comcast Corp. said it expects to lose as many as 150,000 video subscribers in the third quarter.

“There’s a general level of concern around the major media companies having to do with cord-cutting and audience trends,” said Bryan Kraft, a media analyst with Deutsche Bank. “Those concerns aren’t new, but when there’s data to support they’re getting worse, you tend to see the stocks react accordingly.”

Even as the media sector over all holds on to gains for the year, up 3.9%, analysts say shares could slide further as companies cope with greater competition from rivals who are stepping up spending on content creation, such as Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc., as well as a challenging ratings environment.

National Football League games, usually considered a reliable draw for TV viewers and ad dollars, have been another headache for media companies. Ratings for this season’s NFL games have been mostly flat or down, compared with the year-earlier period, said analysts, who added that disruptions wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could be partly to blame.

NFL ratings could also be affected by players’ national anthem protests after President Donald Trump blasted players who participated. DirecTV is letting at least some customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite the protests as the reason.

“These extraordinary hurricanes have had a pretty severe impact on viewership, but it’s difficult to quantify” the impact from those storms alone, said Mr. Mitchelson. “Investors are nervous NFL ratings could end up down for the season.”

Besides that, new online “skinny bundles”—slimmed-down packages of channels from the likes of Hulu and YouTube TV—have left out many cable channels that are part of the traditional bundle. That will put pressure on some channel owners as more consumers sign up for those services, said Mr. Kraft, the media analyst at Deutsche Bank.

“Those services are seeing a lot of subscriber growth,” Mr. Kraft said, although he added the exact size of that population is hard to peg since some companies don’t release specific numbers.

Still, analysts pointed to Charter Communications Inc. as a bright spot among the media landscape. The company last year bought Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks, making it one of the largest cable operators in the U.S.

Irvine Co. Makes Play for New Amazon Headquarters | Sep 8, 2017

Donald Bren & Irvine Company make rare public pitch for Amazon’s 2nd headquarters

|| OC Register

“When the titan of e-commerce said it needed a second headquarters, an Orange County titan of real estate said come on down.

Donald Bren, the owner and chairman of the Irvine Company issued a rare statement Thursday after Amazon said it was on the hunt for another base of operations in North America.

“We are uniquely qualified to meet Amazon’s needs,” Bren said in a statement to the Register.

The Irvine Co. will work with Irvine officials to identify specific plans and locations, company spokesman Scott Starkey said.

Amazon has a few must-haves: A prime location, close to transit, with plenty of space to grow.

Irvine officials believe the city would “appear to be the perfect location.”

The city plans to submit a proposal to Amazon, though they don’t have a timeline yet.

City Manager Sean Joyce became aware of “this intriguing opportunity today,” city spokesman Craig Reem said. Joyce has assigned staff to create a proposal, Reem said, but added “there is a lot of work ahead.”

The city, Reem said, would still have to explore where to build the headquarters.

“Irvine is nimble and innovative and ready to leverage our changing economy,” Councilwoman Melissa Fox said.

Amazon said Thursday it will spend more than $5 billion to build another headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees. It plans to stay in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the new space will be “a full equal” of its current home, said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Irvine will have to compete with the likes of Los Angeles. Officials there said the city also is planning to bid on the project.

The e-commerce giant has a significant presence in Southern California with warehouses and distributions scattered from Irvine to Moreno Valley. Logistics here also might be favorable with the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and cargo airports in Ontario and at LAX.

Amazon’s announcement highlights how fast the company is expanding and is certain to create a scramble among cities and states vying to make the short list. They have a little more than a month to apply through a special website, and the company said it will make a final decision next year.

It didn’t hint about where it might land, but its requirements could rule out some places: It wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and wants to be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade. That’s about the same size as its current home in Seattle. Co-headquarters, though, often come about as a result of mergers.

Amazon said its search is open to any metropolitan area in North America that meets the parameters — the city itself doesn’t necessarily have to be a million people — but declined to say how open it was to building outside the U.S.

“We want to find a city that is excited to work with us and where our customers, employees, and the community can all benefit,” the company said on its search website, about why it was choosing its second headquarters through a public process.

Bezos has crowdsourced major decisions before – in June, just before Amazon announced its plan to buy organic grocer Whole Foods, the billionaire took to Twitter seeking ideas for a philanthropic strategy to give away some of his fortune. And tech companies have been known to set places in competition with each other: In vying to land Google’s ultra-fast broadband network, many cities used stunts and gimmickry to get the company’s attention. Topeka even informally renamed itself “Google, Kansas.”

In just the last month, Amazon announced plans to build three new warehouses that pack and ship packages in New York, Ohio and Oregon. And it recently paid close to $14 billion for Whole Foods and its more than 465 stores. The company plans to hire 100,000 people by the middle of next year, adding to its current worldwide staff of more than 380,000.

Amazon’s current campus in Seattle takes up 8.1 million square feet, has 33 buildings and 24 restaurants and is home to more than 40,000 employees. At the second headquarters, Amazon said it will hire up to 50,000 new full-time employees over the next 15 years who would have an average pay of more than $100,000 a year.

Amazon’s website about the search lauds the benefits it can bring to a community. And Amazon’s arrival could transform an area: Until 10 years ago, the neighborhood near Seattle’s campus just north of downtown was dotted with auto parts stores and low-rent apartments. Now the area is a booming pocket of high-rise office complexes, sleek apartment buildings and tony restaurants.

Amazon’s rise has not been without local critics, who say the influx of mostly well-heeled tech workers has caused housing prices to skyrocket, clogged the streets with traffic and changed the city for the worse. The Seattle Times reported Thursday that the median price for a house in August in Seattle was $730,000, up almost 17 percent in a year.”

….Continue reading more @ OC Register

 

| Question: Where is Irvine’s current congress person Rep. Mimi Walters? Missing in action as usual? And curious the Irvine Co. is not working with Walters to get jobs and expand business in Irvine and South Orange County. 

We can either let jobs leave SoCal or fight to get some. Irvine is an amazingly vibrant and major high tech hub. So why is Walters supporting driverless cars as a huge social boon? We don’t make such cars in South Orange County. / CJ

Worst Summer for Hollywood Box Office in a Decade | Aug 26, 2017

Weekend Box Office: Moviegoing Slows to a Standstill Amid Historic August Slump

|| The Hollywood Reporter

“Hurricane Harvey is prompting theater closures in Texas, while Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight will be a big pay-per-view draw.

Mother Nature certainly isn’t helping the dramatic downturn at the August box office, where revenue for the weekend could hit its lowest level in more than 15 years, in addition to being down nearly 50 percent from the same frame last year.

Hurricane Harvey has prompted theater closures in Corpus Christi and other locales along the Texas Gulf Coast. Inland, numerous cinemas have also shuttered in Houston.

Even without the storm, none of the weekend’s new offerings were expected to earn more than $5 million, and that’s proving to be the case.

Animated family film Leap!, from Harvey Weinstein’s shop, is projected to do the best, earning an estimated $1.6 million Friday for a projected $4.8 million-$5 million debut from 2,575 theaters for a third-place finish behind holdovers The Hitman’s Bodyguard ($9 million) and Annabelle: Creation ($7.5 million), respectively. Hitman’s Bodyguard will join only a short list of films to ever win a weekend with less than $10 million, at least in modern times.

Birth of the Dragon, from Blumhouse’s microbudget genre label BH Tilt, looks to open in the $3 million range after grossing $1.1 million Friday from 1,618 theaters. The film, directed by George Nolfi, is a fictionalized account of when Bruce Lee challenged kung fu master Wong Jack Man to a fight in the mid-1960s in San Francisco. Birth of the Dragon stars Hong Kong-born actor and martial artist Philip Ng, Xia Yu, Billy Magnussen, Qu Jingjing, Jin Xing and Simon Yin. The pic earned a B CinemaScore.

Box-office experts say an even bigger threat to moviegoing than Hurricane Harvey is Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight, which is being carried on pay-per-view. It will also be beamed into roughly 500 theaters via Fathom and Mayweather Productions. (Another special offering this weekend is James Cameron’s 4K 3D conversion of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which AMC Entertainment is releasing in select locations).”

….Continue reading more @ THR

 

The 2017 summer box office is Hollywood’s worst since 2006

|| MarketWatch

“It’s official, summer 2017 is on its way to being the first sub-$4 billion summer at the box office in a decade.

With about 10 days left in the summer movie season — defined as the first Friday in May through Labor Day weekend — the box office has garnered $3.6 billion. The summer box office is down 13.4% compared with last year and down 13.8% compared with 2015, according to data from Box Office Mojo.

ComScore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said he didn’t see a way the summer box office makes it to $4 billion.

There’s nothing for the box office to really feast on until the Oct. 8 release of “Blade Runner 2049.”

“The crazy thing is, there’s not even a single wide release scheduled for the Labor Day weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “To show you how dead the box office really is, ‘Wonder Woman’ is expanding and they’re rereleasing ‘Baby Driver.’ Two films from June are coming back to take advantage of the lull. If that’s not telling, then I don’t know what is.”

Of the new releases and films in theaters this weekend, analysts at Box Office said, “in an already slow box office market, things look to remain very quiet despite three new films opening.””

….Continue reading more @ MarketWatch

“No More Fake News!” Atlanta Protestors Storm CNN | July 23, 2017

WATCH: Protesters Storm CNN Headquarters: ‘No More Fake News!’

|| Breitbart

“Protesters stormed the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia chanting “No more fake news!” at the network’s headquarters to demand an end to the fake news stories about President Trump’s administration.

CNN, most recently, has been engulfed in fake news scandals, as well as getting caught for targeting the creator of an anti-CNN internet meme. The scandals have resulted in at least three CNN employees resigning and forcing the corporation to retract Russia-related stories.

Brian Maloney of the Media Equalizer told protesters outside CNN’s headquarters that the corporate media giant puts down Americans and Trump supporters.

Debbie Dooley, an organizer of the protest, said she wants companies that advertise with CNN to be held accountable for the “very fake news” that has been produced.

“We the people can do this,” Dooley said. “We worked hard to elect Donald Trump. That was just the beginning. We need to continue to fight. We need to continue to take it to the Resist movement. And we depend on Breitbart to give us the truth.”

“CNN, no more fake news and if you continue to do so, we’re going to be out here every month until you report unbiased news,” Dooley said.

The protest against CNN came after the media corporation was slammed for a multitude of scandals. Most recently, three CNN employees were forced to resign, as Breitbart News reported, after releasing a Trump-Russia collusion story that ended up being unfounded.

CNN hosts and reporters were also caught claiming that during the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a “secret dinner,” Breitbart News reported. That narrative was repeated by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, among others, despite not being true.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

India Outsourcing Firms Scam Americans out of IT jobs in favor of Indian nationals | June 24, 2017

Outsourcing Firm Infosys Discriminates in Favor of Indians, Says Lawsuit

|| Breitbart

 

“The multi-billion dollar outsourcing firm Infosys discriminates against whites and African-Americans while favoring Indian nationals, according to a former employee.

In a newly filed lawsuit against Infosys, former executive Erin Green, who worked at the outsourcing firm between 2011 and 2016, says the company favors Indian nationals over other racial groups:

Infosys maintains roughly 200,000 employees working in the United States. While roughly 1% of the U. S. population is of the South Asian race and national origin, roughly 93%-94% of Infosys’s United States workforce is of the South Asian national origin (primarily Indian). This disproportionately South Asian and Indian workforce, by race and national origin, is a result of Infosys’s intentional employment discrimination against individuals who are not South Asian, including discrimination in the hiring, promotion, compensation and termination of individuals.

While the lawsuit does not allege any specific abuses of the H-1B or L-1 visa, where hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are allowed to enter the U.S. every year, Green does note that the visa was used to increase Infosys’ already large Indian workforce:

Infosys has gone to great lengths to obtain its primarily South Asian work force in the U. S., in particular by utilizing professional H-1B and L-1 work visas to bring South Asians (primarily Indians) into the United States to work in information technology (“IT”) consulting roles, as its IT consulting business model dictates, and other non-IT capacities, including to replace or supplant non-South Asians. Plaintiff’s career at Infosys exemplifies the systematic pattern of discrimination at Infosys.

White and black employees at Infosys, according to Green’s lawsuit, were hardly ever promoted and even had their evaluations downgraded compared to their Indian national counterparts.

In a more specific case in 2015, Green claims Nayak “verbally assaulted and berated” his white subordinate during a conference call, bringing the woman to tears in front of fellow colleagues and Indian nationals employed at Infosys.

Within the H-1B visa industry, young, male Indian nationals are favored than any other cohort, according to research by the Center for Immigration Studies. Nearly 70 percent of all H-1B visa-holders are from India.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

 

Out of Control Gov Moonbeam makes Deal with China | June 08, 2017

Jerry Brown Plays President; Signs Climate Deal with China

|| Breitbart

 

“California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new climate change agreement between the State of California and the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday.

The gesture continued Brown’s efforts to expand ties with China, as well as his diplomatic campaign to push for more action on climate change. It came in the immediate aftermath of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.

A statement by Gov. Brown’s office described the new agreement as follows:

Specifically, the agreement expands cooperation on the advancement of low-carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies such as zero-emission vehicles, energy storage, grid modernization and low-carbon urban development. Under the agreement, California and China will also deepen their partnership and coordination on greenhouse gas emission and air pollution reduction programs, including emissions trading systems and carbon capture.

The Associated Press reports, however, that the agreement does not bind either China or California to specific greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.”

…Read more @ Breitbart

 

BOMBSHELL: Obama NEVER Warned State Election Officials About Russian Election ‘Hacking’

|| theGatewayPundit

“A new and exclusive report by The Daily Caller – Neither Obama nor any member of his cabinet warned state election officials of any Russian effort to hack or interfere with the country’s electoral systems, according to the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.”

…Read more @ TGP

MS-13 Gang Allowed in by Obama is now Extorting Businesses in Washington DC | May 25, 2017

MS-13 Extorting Legitimate Latino Business Owners in DC Suburb

|| TruePundit

USA, Washington DC, Pennsylvania Avenue and Capitol building

“The powerful gang Ms-13 is extorting Latino-owned businesses in the D.C. suburbs, Montgomery County police chief Thomas Manger said Wednesday in testimony before the Senate.

“We have heard from community members that the gangs, which historically extorted money solely from illicit businesses such as ‘bordellos’ and unlicensed ‘cantinas,’ are now collecting ‘rent’ from legitimate Latino business owners and residents in certain apartment complexes” Manger told the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. “In some instances, if the victims of this extortion refuse to pay the fee demanded by the gang, the gang members return with detailed information on the intended victims’ family members still living in Central America.”

Manger was one of three law enforcement officials who provided testimony regarding the growing threat posed by MS-13 and the resulting need for federal intervention. The gang, which is comprised largely of Salvadoran immigrants, began in Los Angeles in the 1980s and now maintains a significant presence in the New York and Washington D.C. metro areas where they engage in drug dealing, extortion and violence.

Manger also spoke about the need for the federal government to relax surveillance laws so law enforcement can more easily monitor gang members. He explained that gang members have become increasingly tech savvy and as a result are often able to evade police surveillance, according to the Washington Examiner.

“I also urge Congress to act to balance citizens’ rights to privacy with law enforcement’s need to lawfully monitor and intercept electronic communications regarding criminal activity and potential deadly plots” Manger said.”

….Continue reading @ TruePundit

 

Obama Admin KNOWINGLY Allowed MS-13 Gang Members Into the US

|| theGatewayPundit

“Whistleblower: Obama’s DHS knowingly let in at least 16 MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014, The Washington Times reports.

Via The Washington Times:

The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014, a top senator said Wednesday, citing internal documents that showed the teens were shipped to juvenile homes throughout the country.

Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said a whistleblower turned over Customs and Border Protection documents from 2014 detailing the 16 people who were caught crossing the border.

“CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities,” Mr. Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said.

The gang members were part of the surge of UAC, or “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government labels them, who overwhelmed the Obama administration in 2014, leaving Homeland Security struggling to staunch the flow from Central America.

Officials at the time said the children should be treated as refugees fleeing horrific conditions back home — though security analysts said the children were prime recruiting territory for gangs already in the U.S.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, The Obama administration was an 8 year crime spree. Obama and his corrupt agencies knowingly put Americans in danger with their disregard for the law. Where is the justice? The equally corrupt media never reports on stories like this because they are too busy obsessing over the Trump-Russia hoax.

You can read the full report by The Washington Times here.”

….Continue reading more @ TGP