Bloomberg’s Close Call Reveals News Orgs Confusion, Did Jon Stewart See It Coming?

Picture 9It looks like maybe a lot of people were more displeased with their lack of couches than was previously let on! Perhaps the biggest shocker to come out of last night’s elections was just how tiny the margin Bloomberg’s margin of victory was!

It was so close that at around 9:30 last night NBC called the election for Bloomberg and then had to reverse the call when it became too close to call. The waded into similar murky territory, first running a banner that said “Bloomberg Wins Third Term as Mayor” and then changing it to “Bloomberg Projected to Win 3rd Term.”

It’s safe to say not a lot of people saw that coming, least of all the Dems. I can’t be the only one who saw those retractions and wondered if someone named Bill Thompson was going to be our next mayor and whether I shoudl be worried about that. Lessons? $100 million can by you an election, but barely. Also, how many Dems are kicking themselves today (looking at you Anthony Weiner) for not bothering to throw a hat in the ring. Apparently the only people not buying into to Bloombergs multi-gazillion dollar ad campaign were the voters. Why the close call? No doubt plenty of people will spend the day deciphering. But let’s go to Jon Stewart, shall we, who speculated the other night that “money bags” Bloomberg might just be a leetle too out of touch with the voters (video below):

“It’s an important election. But it all starts here, at your kitchen table.” Jon Stewart: “It’s a powerful message. Undercut by the fact that no one in New York City has a kitchen table.”

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Comcast Profits Rise 22 Percent; Ad Decline Slows In Q3


A combination of cost savings and an increase in the number of subscribers and monthly bill rates pushed Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) past analysts expectations. Profits rose 22 percent to $944 million as revenue was up 3 percent to $8.8 billion, the latter just missing analysts’ estimates. Comcast didn’t have much to say on speculation about an imminent purchase of a majority stake in NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), but that’s likely to come up during the earnings call. It wasn’t all good news for Comcast, as ad revenue fell 16 percent, though that’s an improvement over the 20 percent drop in marketers’ dollars in Q2, the the WSJ noted.

Earnings release | Webcast (8:30 AM EDT)

3Q 2009 3Q 2008 Estimate
EPS $0.33 $0.26 $0.25
Net Income $944M $771M
Revenue $8.80B $8.54B $8.85B

Following through on an aggressive set of promotions, Comcast subs accepted higher while buying new services. The Philadelphia cable operator’s average total revenue per video customer was up 5.6 percent to $116.91 in Q3. At the same time, however, it only added 1.067 million revenue generating units in the period, compared to last year’s 1.131 million.

Comcast Won’t Talk About NBCU, Will Talk About Internet Video

fancastWall Street has been displeased with Comcast (CMCSA) since news of its interest in NBC Universal broke in late September, and the company didn’t do much to mollify investors today: Executives refused to say much about the deal except to refer to the reports of the deal as “rumors.” Silly, but expected.

Comcast did have reasonably good news to deliver this morning. It signed up more new customers than Wall Street expected, though it had to cut prices to do so. So we’ll see if that mollifies investors, who really have been salty–look what’s happened to CMCSA shares since news of the GE (GE) transaction broke:

cmcsa shares

Since Comcast barely addressed the NBCU deal during its earnings call this morning, the company had more time to tackle other topics. A recurring theme: How would increased Web video consumption affect the company?

The answer: No one knows, exactly.

On the one hand, there’s the threat that consumers will be less likely to pay for cable TV if they’re getting their shows over the Web, whether it’s through illegal streams or legitimate “over the top” services like the one Apple (AAPL) is trying to assemble.

That’s why Comcast CEO Brian Roberts described his company’s “authentication” efforts, which are in a beta test now but are scheduled to go nationwide next month, as an effort to make sure that people who consume Web video do so “in a way that secures the existing model.”

That is–he’d like them to keep paying Comcast for a TV subscription even though they’re watching shows online. Tough sell.

On the other hand, even if you stop paying for cable TV, you still have to pay someone to connect you to the Web, and it’s very likely that company will be Comcast. And if you’re not paying it for TV, there’s a very good chance you’ll pay more for your Internet connection.

“I’ve been saying for a long time that I think video over the Internet is more friend than foe,” Roberts said this morning. Let’s see if Wall Street agrees.

Tweets Hispanoparlantes

Back in October, Twitter announced a translation project, soliciting the help of users to expand Twitter by making the site available in other languages. Less than a month later, the company has launched a Spanish-language edition.

Contra Iran

Thirty years ago today, Iranian students invaded the United States embassy in Tehran and captured seventy-one American diplomats, keeping fifty-three of them hostage for 444 days. The Iranian hostage crisis, as it came to be known, was a watershed moment in U.S. history. All at once, it symbolized the haplessness of the Carter administration; the hostility to the U.S. in...

Olbermann Rips Glenn Beck For Exploiting 9/11: “Go To Hell” (VIDEO)

Keith Olbermann slammed Glenn Beck last night for invoking 9/11 in his opposition to health care reform. Beck launched into a rant about how he could have shouted for years about Osama bin Laden and warned of the attack and still no one would have taken the precautions necessary to stop it. Olbermann was having none of it:

Beck, you and the 9/12ers have the nerve to exploit 9/11 for your lousy TV raitings? You cannot make light of 9/11, nor bandy about as if your petty political grievances are comparable to it and still be an actual, patriotic American. In short, Glenn, 9/12ers, if you're invoking 9/11 just to oppose health care reform, go to hell.


Why The Fake AP Stylebook Is Blowing Up: It Involves Lulz


Two weeks after its creation, @FakeAPStylebook has netted more than 40,000 Twitter followers, 2,500 list mentions, and may soon have a book deal. What does it take for a Twitter account to blow up like that?

Tweeting a lot helps. Oh, so does being funny, particularly to AP-embittered journalists. For instance: “All mentions of the band Dokken should be followed by the parenthetical aside ‘(rhymes with ROCKIN’).’”

In two weeks, the Fake AP Stylebook has turned out 292 Tweets; that works out to about 20 a day. And it’s very responsive: it tosses out a lot of @ replies to its followers’ earnest style questions, which has no doubt contributed to its popularity, though it can be slightly annoying to the casual reader who can’t easily go back and see the original Tweets. But that’s more a limitation of Twitter than of the guide, which routinely turns out great stuff:

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Over at Media Nation, Dan Kennedy has an interview with Mark Hale and Ken Lowery, the masterminds behind the feed:

MN: How did you come up with the idea of doing the Fake AP Stylebook?

Mark: Ken and I were chatting two weeks ago, and he showed me the feed for the real AP Stylebook on Twitter. With the proliferation of “fake” accounts, labeled and otherwise, I remarked to him, “I can’t tell if I’m sad or relieved that this isn’t a joke feed.” Ken got hit by a lightning bolt, he wrote a post about how television shows are denoted and I wrote one about Dr Pepper, each on our own feeds. Then he decided we should start it on its own feed, and off we went.

MN: What’s next?

Mark: We and the Bureau Chiefs are currently pulling together a sample chapter as part of a book proposal. We’ve been approached by three agents, and have finally signed on with one.

We hope to work in a good deal of the Twitter material, but so far we seem to be cranking out original material at a good clip. Other than that, we’re going to continue trying to make people laugh for free on the Internet. That’s where the real money is these days, after all.


Fake AP Stylebook on Twitter

Media Nation: Should ‘anal retentive’ be hyphenated?

Dokken: Burning Like a Flame