Tag Archive: Disney


“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, The International.

In the days of ole, one could buy a treadmill or an exercise bike and work out or employ it as a glorified laundry rack.

Now we have the recent Peloton IPO — (NASDAQ: PTON) — selling its bikes for $1,995 and treadmills for $4,000.

The key differentiator is streaming content (bike or aerobic instructor videos) for a recurring monthly charge of $39 or more. Peloton didn’t just sell a pricey bike and/or treadmill, they more importantly marketed a monthly obligation to a growing subscriber base … and that very well could include you.

The consumer bought high, and is paying even higher.

The stately The Economist reported the news and entertainment industry (i.e., Disney, Fox, ESPN, HBO …) along with major tech players (i.e., Apple, Amazon, Netflix) collectively spent $650 billion in the last five years on acquisitions and content, a sum greater than America’s oil industry.

For example the Mickey Mouse gang just unveiled Disney+ for only $6.99 per month (how long will that price last?), allowing binge watching of the Star Wars catalog to one heart’s content. The downside is another sliver of your financial independence given away for yet another monthly fee.

Sooner or later, the price of each kernel of streaming popcorn is going to add up.

They Have The Gravy, And You’re On The Train

During his Silicon Valley days, Almost DailyBrett was consumed by a litany of recurring payments (i.e., mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, car payments, credit card usage, mobile phones, cable, house cleaner, gym membership, pool maintenance, gardener …). In toto, all of these outstretched hands each month represented a seemingly out-of-control first-world dilemma on steroids.

Money was coming in, and going out just as quick each month. Similar to the IRS, each of the growing list of providers never forgot to remind your author of his annual/monthly obligations.

Even more than ever, our consumer-oriented economy (70 percent of the total) is predicated on enticing even more Americans to shell out an escalating amount of capital on a monthly basis, ensuring a consistent flow of money in one direction.

Hint: Someone is getting rich and it’s not the average Jane or Joe.

Some can avoid being “slaves to debt” to the bank (e.g., pay off your credit cards each month), but it’s way more difficult to avoid recurring annual (e.g., Amazon Prime or Costco memberships) and worse, monthly payments.

Let’s face it, some monthly outlays are unavoidable (e.g., utility payments). Most have mortgages or rent to pay every 30 days. Many have car payments. Even if you pay your total credit card bill religiously (which you should), it’s still a monthly obligation.

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to sound like a parent, but still must pose this question: How many of these recurring payments are absolutely necessary?

Shelter, food, power and water are essential to life. Most likely all or at least some of the above are financed/amortized through monthly payments.

Your author must ask, do we need a Netflix subscription on top of the cable bundle? We are already paying up the Wazzoo for up to and beyond 300 channels, the vast of majority we do not watch … and then we add on Disney+, ESPN+, Netflix and God knows what else.

And we are wondering what is happening to our money?

No Longer Driving The Top Line, How About The Bottom Line?

Follicly challenged Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and others of the species are retiring … and Gen Xers (hatched 1965-1979) are not far behind.

Let’s face it, for most Boomers their peak earnings days are behind them.

If you can’t grow the top line, then reducing the bottom line is a great idea. Can one seriously reduce costs and still live a comfortable happy life?

Do you still require a mortgage? Can you downsize? Can you rent instead? Can you move to a lower-cost state or community?

Is good weather (e.g., California) worth the mounting hassles, congestion, rising costs and always higher taxes?

Can you avoid car payments? How about fixing up your ride?

And most of all, can you build a stone wall preventing new monthly payments from wrecking your budget?

If you must binge watch, is there a free way to enjoy the same content without the monthly ball and chain?

Retirement experts preach avoiding second (or more) homes, subsidizing adult children and overspending.

At some point, that one more monthly expense may prove to be A Bridge Too Far.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/14/who-will-win-the-media-wars

“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.” – President Donald Trump interview With the New York Times

Is there a difference between Journalism as a profession, and Journalism as a business?

And when push comes to shove, which side wins?

According to research firm mediaQuant,  Trump received a record advertising equivalent of $4.96 billion in earned media coverage from legacy/digital pubs/networks during the course of his campaign compared to $3.24 billion for Hillary Clinton.

That’s a $1.72 billion delta in favor of Trump-the-entertainer-turned-president for those scoring at home.

Four years earlier, Barack Obama garnered $1.1 billion in advertising equivalent coverage even with the bully pulpit of the White House. His challenger Mitt Romney generated only $700 million in earned media.

Almost DailyBrett must humbly ask: Does the media have a vested interest in Trump’s presidency, even though the vast majority of reporters, editors, pundits and correspondents detest him?

 

The Journalism as a Profession crowd waxes nostalgic about the Jeffersonian quote: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

And yet Trump is catnip for reporters, editors, pundits and correspondents. They may grind their collective teeth, particularly because of his usurpation of Agenda Setting with his in-your-face comments, immediate rejoinders, and nocturnal tweets.

The Journalism as a Business side reflects the obvious fact that Disney runs ABC News; Comcast operates NBC and MSNBC; Viacom manages CBS; Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is the patriarch of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News; and CNN is the property of Time Warner.

These elite media are all run by publicly traded companies with corresponding fiduciary obligations to their shareholders: NASDAQ: CMCSA (NBC and MSNBC); NYSE: DIS (ABC), NASDAQ: FOXA (Fox News and Wall Street Journal); NYSE: NYT (New York Times); NYSE: TWX (CNN), and NASDAQ: VIAB (CBS).

Does the Trump outrage du jour feed a greater public interest in news and politics, thus driving up coverage, ratings, impressions and most of all, legal tender?

You bet ya.

Elite Media For Trump in 2020?

“So they (elite media) basically have to let me win. And eventually, probably six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.’ O.K.” – Donald Trump in the same New York Times interview

The talking heads on Meet the Depressed, Deface the Nation, This Week, let alone the partisans on CNN and MSNBC, will categorically deny they have a vested financial interest in Donald Trump’s ascendancy.

Deep down they want to bring him down to a crashing end (similar to Nixon in 1974) and provide wall-to-wall interpretive coverage of the carnage.

The result 43 years ago was Gerald Ford. The outcome this year would be Mike Pence. The “Bleeds It Leads” culture can tolerate virtually anything, except boredom.

Donald Trump provides the legacy and digital media outlets with unprecedented 24-7-365 outrage.  They are pontificating, bloviating and expecting only the worst from the Donald. Consider the projection from the “economist” below:

“If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” – New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the day after Trump’s victory.

In 2017, the benchmark S&P 500 finished up 22.46 percent; The Dow Jones, increased 25.08 percent and the tech/life sciences NASDAQ advanced, 27.09 percent.

Want to take along Krugman to Vegas?

More to the point” Wanna bet that all publicly traded media companies, owning America’s elite media, also recorded positive years benefitting their shareholders?

To top it off, their respective corporate tax rates were reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent as of yesterday.

And best of all for elite media, there is little doubt that Trump will continue to be “good copy” for months and years to come.

Is Donald Trump the gift that keeps on giving?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/politics/trump-interview-mueller-russia-china-north-korea.html

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13896916/1/donald-trump-rode-5-billion-in-free-media-to-the-white-house.html

https://www.mediaquant.net/2016/11/a-media-post-mortem-on-the-2016-presidential-election/

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/28/2018-america-new-year-economy-everything-is-awesome-216159

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/has-the-media-reached-the-point-that-it-can-never-cover-trump-fairly/

“The president of the United States tweeting negative things about your brand (e.g., ESPN) in an environment where you’re already at risk and you’re already on a downward trend, it’s just not what you want to see happening.” – Stephen Beck, cable TV consultant

“ESPN is about sports … not a political organization.” – ESPN President John Skipper

ESPN proclaims itself as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

If that is true then why are so many labeling the troubled network: MSESPN?

Why is an ESPN anchor (e.g., Jamele Hill) taking to Twitter to call the president of the United States as a “White Supremacist” and a “Bigot”? Sounds like politics, not sports.

With the likes of Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher filling up TV screens at other networks, does the avid sports fan tune into ESPN for affirmational political commentary?

Do you think more than a few of ESPN’s remaining viewers may not necessarily agree? More to the point, don’t they just want to watch their game of choice, and check out the highlights on “Sports Center”?

Predictably, Trump replied via his own customary tweet, reminding the world that ESPN is losing subscribers in a fast-and-furious way (e.g., 100 million in 2011 to 87 million now).

Time to sell the stock, Disney shares in particular?

Almost DailyBrett needs to ask a basic question: Why is the so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports” becoming embroiled in politics when the nation is the most divided since the days of the Civil War?

Does the Bristol, Ct., network appreciate that contrary opinions may actually exist west of the Hudson? See 2016 Electoral College map for details.

Some have questioned why the network presented the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner, provided sympathetic coverage of Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem, moved Asian announcer Robert Lee out of the broadcast booth, fired conservative two-time World Series winner Curt Schilling, while not terminating Jamele Hill for her presidential broadsides?.

This commentary is not to suggest that ESPN should not cover provocative sports issues (e.g., O.J. Simpson parole hearing), but one cannot fathom the arbitrary direct shots by a sports network anchor at the commander-in-chief.

Analysts have stated that ESPN’s well-documented troubles are a product of market factors including widespread chord-cutting and the growing acceptance of streaming video. Okay. Then why potentially exacerbate the loss of 13 million viewers by angering millions of viewers, who may just happen to be conservative?

There is a reason why Fox News is the consistent ratings leader in cable news, easily beating MSNBC and CNN in the Nielsen Ratings. Why tick off huge swaths of the public?

“Ballmer and Butthead”

Almost DailyBrett earlier questioned Sun Microsystems founder and chief Scott McNealy’s obsession with Microsoft, who he saw as technology’s evil empire.

Thinking he was so friggin’ clever, McNealy drew laughter when he labeled Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates as “Ballmer and Butthead.”

He also raised eyebrows for making these brash comments while his failing company harbored a $3 per share price. Alas after 28 years, Sun Microsystems went into oblivion having been absorbed by Oracle in 2010.

The connection with ESPN is that a company needs to appreciate its raison d’ etre. What are a corporation’s bread and butter? What is a firm’s brand? What are the meanings of the logo, signage, colors, fonts and style?

Southwest Airlines is “The Low-Fare Airline”; Nike is “Just Do It”; Apple is mainly the iPhone as reaffirmed last week. Sun Microsystems was Java script and servers, but the brand sadly degenerated into becoming synonymous with McNealy’s sophomoric punch lines.

ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Does it want to be the worldwide leader in left-of-center sports commentary? If so, the network will become a niche player instead of the market-share leader in sports programming.

The adults at Fox Sports will then take over that leadership position, leaving MSESPN to cater to its chosen core of left-of-center “sports” fans.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/15/media/trump-espn/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/politics/jemele-hill-espn/

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/15/trump-kicks-espn-where-it-hurts-242785

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/09/tech-ceos-talking-shit-about-their-rivals/mcnealy-shots-on-gates-and-ballmer

https://www.recode.net/2016/5/4/11634208/scott-mcnealy-is-stepping-down-from-the-ceo-job-you-didnt-know-he-had

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/%E2%80%9Cballmer-and-butthead%E2%80%9D/

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/09/12/espn-jemele-hill-calls-donald-trump-white-supremacist-kid-rock-pandering-racists

 

 

 

Four monosyllabic words.

Ever ask a brilliant person for the time, and he or she essentially tells you how to build a clock?

Is it better to say: “Terminate the illumination” or “Turn out the lights?”

There may be genius or two, who is not so sure.

Guess the Heath Brothers, Chip and Dan, (authors of Made to Stick) were right when they discussed those who can never overcome, “The curse of knowledge.”

We live in a world of 280-character-or-less Tweets and 20-second sound bites, not 400-page dissertations (except for those defending a Ph.D)

Having said that, some are not comfortable with our reduced attention spans caused by an unprecedented and unrelenting global information overload.

Deal with it.

Four monosyllabic words

Evening In America?

In many cases, monosyllabic statements and answers simply don’t cut it.

But there are times, particularly when it comes to persuasive communication, when less is indeed, more.

Actor Kurt Russell reenacted the late Coach Herb Brooks’ February 22, 1980 pre-game pep talk to the U.S. Olympic hockey team in Lake Placid, N.Y. before they played the mighty Soviet Union.

It was the height of the Cold War, the Soviets were running wild in Afghanistan, the U.S. was virtually helpless in its efforts to free 52 diplomats held hostage in Iran, and the country was suffering a “crisis of confidence”… at least according to the leader of the free world.

It was Evening in America.

The country needed a big time lift, and it came from a group of essentially college student-athletes. They were being asked to accomplish the impossible as depicted in the Disney movie, Miracle. 

Every Word Counts

Brooks was not Mr. Personality. He was not Mr. Congeniality. That’s not what the U.S. hockey program wanted or needed.

He was tough. He knew that his team needed to stay with the Soviet ice machine for 60 minutes, something that had not been done in two decades.

He was the coach of his players, but certainly not their friend.

He prepared them for the biggest opportunity of their lives, and then the moment came right before they took the ice against the mighty USSR.

Brooks’ two-minute speech was only 124 words, and every word counted. There is a beauty in their simplicity. They were incredibly effective. I get chills every time I watch the speech. I want to charge onto the ice as well.

Less Is More

As communicators what can we learn from Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Brooks? After all, it is only a film. Shouldn’t we dismiss any serious discussion of this speech because it was reenacted for the purpose of a movie?

We can, but we would miss the point.

If we are preparing a bumper sticker, a billboard, an infographic, an advertisement, a PowerPoint presentation, a speech and even a pep talk, the simpler can be better.

Consider the effectiveness of two monosyllabic words: “One game.”

How about: “Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world?”

The theme undoubtedly is: “This is your time.”

Conversely: “Their time is done.”

And just in case one did not get the point: “It’s over.”

The imperative: “Screw em” is universal in its meaning.

And of course, repetition is the key to learning: “This is your time.”

And finally: “Now go out there and take it!”

The door was probably not big enough for the team to take the ice all at the same time.

An American Hero

For many, and count me in this crowd, Herb Brooks is an American hero.

He was the last man cut from the 1960 Olympic Team that beat the Russians and won the Gold Medal in Squaw Valley, California.

He was severely criticized for his coaching techniques, but stuck to his convictions. The rest is history.

Brooks died way-too-young at 66 years old in a one-car crash in 2003. Thankfully, drugs and/or alcohol were not the culprit. He should have worn his seat belt.

May he rest in peace. Thank you Disney and Kurt Russell for such a fitting tribute.

And for reminding us the most simple communication can at times be the most effective. In our increasingly complex world, we sometimes need to appreciate that less is indeed more. 

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. 

And that’s what you have here tonight, boys. 

That’s what you’ve earned here tonight. 

One game. 

If we played them 10 times, they might win nine. 

But not this game. 

Not tonight. 

Tonight, we skate with them. 

Tonight we stay with them. 

And we shut them down because we can. 

Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world. 

You were born to be hockey players – every one of you, and you were meant to be here tonight. 

This is your time. 

Their time is done. 

It’s over. 

I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. 

Screw ’em. 

This is your time. 

Now go out there and take it!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwpTj_Z9v-c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYscemhnf88

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_Brooks

http://www.masterschannel.com/this-is-my-story/miracle-coach-brooks-addresses-team-pre-game

http://www.legacy.com/ns/news-story.aspx?t=herb-brooks–miracle-man&id=1253

http://heathbrothers.com/books/made-to-stick/

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