Not a Single Head of a Fortune 100 Company Has Yet to Donate to Trump

donald-trumpTypically, Fortune 100 company CEOs give money to Democrats and Republicans, but not a single one of them has given to the campaign of Donald Trump. According to analysis by The Wall Street Journal, 11 chief executives at Fortune 100 companies have donated to Hillary Clinton, but not a single one has given to Trump. 19 of them did donate to Trump’s former Republican rivals (including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio), but the billionaire candidate has not received much support from these other business leaders. And just for perspective, these were the 2012 numbers:
In 2012, the top 100 CEOs donated a total of $142,000 to the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns. They also gave another $3.2 million to the candidates’ allied super PACs, which don’t cap contributions—much of which came from a single $3 million donation from Larry Ellison, then-CEO of Oracle Corp., to Continue reading "Not a Single Head of a Fortune 100 Company Has Yet to Donate to Trump"

Researcher: Over 1 Million U.S. Cable Subscribers Cut Cord In 2011

Cord cutting / cutting the cord

Cable and satellite TV subscription growth slowed down more than had been previously reported, and cord-cutting was a primary factor. But don’t worry about it—a revolution that will re-create the current multi-channel access paradigm is still a long way away. Those are the conclusions of research released Monday by Canadian research firm the Convergence Consulting Group.

According to the Convergence Consulting report, “The Battle for the North American Couch Potato: Bundling, TV, Internet,Telephone, Wireless,” 2.65 million American multichannel subscribers cut their cords between 2008-2011 and switched to over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) to get their video programming. The report says that only 112,000 cable, satellite and telco TV service subscriptions were added in the U.S. last year—less than a third of the 380,000 added subscriptions that Leichtman Research Group reported last month while auditing only the top multi-channel programming services.

Regardless of whose number you use, the news isn’t great for the cable and satellite business, which from 2000-2009 added an average of around 2 million subscribers a year. Convergence Consulting believes migration of consumers to over-the-top services to is blame for this sudden drop-off and says the trend will only accelerate further in 2012. In fact, the firm projects the number of folks ditching their cable or satellite service in 2012 for OTT services to reach nearly 3.58 million.

Rather than sounding alarm bells, however, Convergence Consulting doesn’t believe these data points signal any kind of imminent threat to the multi-channel business.

“The revolution is not coming, at least not for a very long time,” Brahm Eiley, Toronto-based co-founder of the research group, told paidContent. He says that, as content providers (i.e. TV networks) continue to try to establish greater value for their movies and shows, they’ll continue to offer them through over-the-top distribution models. However, they won’t keep supplying their programming through these channels to a point at which serious degration of the traditional multi-channel access model occurs. In other words, if the cable and satellite business were to suddenly lose millions of subscribers rather than report narrow gains, Eiley doesn’t believe the major entertainment conglomerates would be as eager to sign deals with Netflix and Hulu.

He points to the $38.5 billion spent on programming carriage and re-transmission fees in 2011 by multi-channel operators compared to the $3 billion on programming spent by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Netflix and other OTT players.

“The leverage is clearly on the TV access side,” Eiley said. “The content providers know where their bread is buttered.”

 

 

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Researcher: Over 1 Million U.S. Cable Subscribers Cut Cord In 2011

Cord cutting / cutting the cord

Cable and satellite TV subscription growth slowed down more than had been previously reported, and cord-cutting was a primary factor. But don’t worry about it—a revolution that will re-create the current multi-channel access paradigm is still a long way away. Those are the conclusions of research released Monday by Canadian research firm the Convergence Consulting Group.

According to the Convergence Consulting report, “The Battle for the North American Couch Potato: Bundling, TV, Internet,Telephone, Wireless,” 2.65 million American multichannel subscribers cut their cords between 2008-2011 and switched to over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) to get their video programming. The report says that only 112,000 cable, satellite and telco TV service subscriptions were added in the U.S. last year—less than a third of the 380,000 added subscriptions that Leichtman Research Group reported last month while auditing only the top multi-channel programming services.

Regardless of whose number you use, the news isn’t great for the cable and satellite business, which from 2000-2009 added an average of around 2 million subscribers a year. Convergence Consulting believes migration of consumers to over-the-top services to is blame for this sudden drop-off and says the trend will only accelerate further in 2012. In fact, the firm projects the number of folks ditching their cable or satellite service in 2012 for OTT services to reach nearly 3.58 million.

Rather than sounding alarm bells, however, Convergence Consulting doesn’t believe these data points signal any kind of imminent threat to the multi-channel business.

“The revolution is not coming, at least not for a very long time,” Brahm Eiley, Toronto-based co-founder of the research group, told paidContent. He says that, as content providers (i.e. TV networks) continue to try to establish greater value for their movies and shows, they’ll continue to offer them through over-the-top distribution models. However, they won’t keep supplying their programming through these channels to a point at which serious degration of the traditional multi-channel access model occurs. In other words, if the cable and satellite business were to suddenly lose millions of subscribers rather than report narrow gains, Eiley doesn’t believe the major entertainment conglomerates would be as eager to sign deals with Netflix and Hulu.

He points to the $38.5 billion spent on programming carriage and re-transmission fees in 2011 by multi-channel operators compared to the $3 billion on programming spent by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Netflix and other OTT players.

“The leverage is clearly on the TV access side,” Eiley said. “The content providers know where their bread is buttered.”

 

 

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How Facebook Search Could Be A Gift To Google

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s reported move into search may one day prove a mortal threat to Google’s advertising business. But in the short run, the social network’s new project comes at an opportune time for the search giant.

For Google (NSDQ: GOOG), the impending arrival of Facebook Search presents a much-needed opportunity to beat back the legions of antitrust authorities circling all around it.

Recall that regulators appeared at the end of their ropes when Google announced “Search Plus Your World” and related privacy changes in January. The FTC Chairman soon after described the changes as a “binary and somewhat brutal” choice that forced consumers to give the company yet more of their personal information.

On a legal level, the privacy changes also fueled critics’ complaints that Google was violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act by abusing dominant market power. The company is the subject of multiple investigations in the US and Europe.

The arrival of Facebook could help Google say it is not dominant after all. Google, which controls 60-70 percent of the search market, has long tried to refute antirust charges by saying competition is “just a click away.”

Google may need this argument more than ever now that it has jettisoned purely objective search results in favor of promoting more social forms of search. In the past, Google has argued that objective results proved it wasn’t abusing its market power—this argument no longer holds water in light of the recent search changes.

The arrival of Facebook in search could provide Google with a regulatory reprieve but, in the long run, it could also spell trouble. Google makes nearly all its money from advertising and it stands to lose out if Facebook can capitalize on a market for ads based on friend recommendations. Facebook’s own executives have in the past said that such ads are worth three times as much as ordinary ads.

BusinessWeek reported last week that Facebook had hired a former Google engineer to develop search based advertising.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment for this article.

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Lawsuit Says Circumstantial Evidence Enough To Prove e-Book Conspiracy

Crime City

The plaintiffs who are accusing Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and publishers of fixing e-book prices say they don’t have to show an actual meeting took place. Instead, they say, indirect evidence like price jumps and a common motive are enough to establish an antitrust conspiracy.

The claims, set out in a new court filing, coincide with reports this weekend that the Justice Department is nearing a settlement in the e-book dispute.

The two-headed legal brouhaha is part of a long-running flap over publishers’ adoption of so-called agency pricing in 2010. Under this model, publishers set the price and retailers like Apple or Amazon take a commission.

So far, the plaintiffs haven’t been able to show hard evidence of a conspiracy—such as Apple and the publishing executives chomping cigars while poring over pricing charts.

But in the new filing, the plaintiffs say a 1939 Supreme Court case means that indirect evidence of price jumps and other “plus factors” is enough to establish a conspiracy. The case involved eight movie distributors found guilty of fixing screen prices.

In the e-book case, the new filing points to circumstantial evidence like:

  • A series of four deals in twelve days between Apple and the publishers

  • A trade association meeting at which senior executives from Hachette and Macmillan were seen together in a hotel bar

  • Similar terms in the contracts between Apple and the five publishers

An agreement among competitors to set prices is “horizontal price fixing” and an automatic violation of the Sherman Act.

The publishers have argued that there was no conspiracy and that they adopted the agency model independently because it made business sense. At the time, Amazon was selling e-books at below market prices; publishers feared the practice would train consumers to expect unviable prices.

The new filing also revisits Apple’s role in the alleged conspiracy. The iPad maker has pushed back against the antitrust claims by pointing out that, at the time, it had no power in an e-book market that was 90 percent dominated by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). Apple’s lawyers have also said that plaintiffs have “mischaracterized” comments by Steve Jobs about his relationship with the publishers.

In response to Apple’s defense, the plaintiffs said the company had a motive to be the hub of a conspiracy because:

The “situation that existed” was that Apple was late to the eBook market, Amazon had a very large installed user base, a strong appetite for discount eBook pricing, and Apple wanted to knock out a reason to buy a Kindle versus an iPad – the price of eBooks.  The scheme protected Apple from price competition from other retailers and increased Apple’s revenue per eBook unit sold compared to the wholesale model.

Finally, the filing recasts Barnes & Noble’s role in the affair. In a January complaint, the plaintiffs had implied that the bookseller may have supported the conspiracy because it wanted to protect the price of its hardcover books.

Now, the plaintiffs call attention to the fact that Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) launched its Nook reader months before the iPad and that the publishers didn’t change their pricing system in response—the point appears to be that only Apple was big enough to broker a conspiracy. The new filing also repeatedly mentions reports that a Barnes & Noble executive has been deposed by the Justice Department. Earlier court filings stated that a publishing executive had tipped a law firm about the alleged conspiracy—it’s not known if that executive was from Barnes & Nobel.

If the reports of an impending Justice Department settlement are true, this would strengthen the hand of the class action plaintiffs and likely force a civil settlement. Under such settlements, lawyers typically pocket 25 percent of the payout while the rest is distributed in small amounts to consumers who claim it.

The e-book investigation is also before the European Commission and various state Attorneys General. The matter appears poised to come to a head in the next month.

eBooks Opposition to Dismiss Copy

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