Posted tagged ‘NYT’

Reading: Good For You, In Moderation

January 10, 2009

Okay, as I promised, I’d post on something I’m doing: catching up! Seriously, why do people keep writing kilo-worded articles? And all these must-read pieces… argh! Here’s what I haven’t gotten around to yet…

  1. The Weekend That Wall St. Died — The WSJ Journal piece that seems to be the answer to their three-part series on Bear Stearns.
  2. Fannie Mae’s Last Stand — Vanity Fair, in an effort to prove that they can write a lot of words about finance too, delivers 10,000 words on the G.S.E.’s end.
  3. Joe Nocera on VaR — Honestly, the fact that everyone read and commented on an article focused on VaR probably means I should get a less-nerdy blogroll. That being said, I can’t avoid the fact I’ll probably enjoy reading it.
  4. Two Part Op-ed from Einhorn and Michael Lewis — They should write a book. It can be called, “The New Profitable Thing: Fooling The Government All The Time”
  5. Judd Gregg’s Op-ed in the WSJ — Apparently, we (taxpayers) are making money hand over fist! Can I put more money with them?
  6. John Paulson’s Profile in Portfolio — The man put himself on the map and went from good, but not special, merger-arb to the king of the Fundhouse.
  7. The Reckoning — This series by the NYT goes int all sorts of topics. Really, though, NYT … China caused the crisis? Every article is lots of words.
  8. The End of Wall St. — Ugh. I know, should have read it by now. Sorry well-informed people.
  9. A Reasonable Query for AIG — Simply asks the question, “Where did the cash go?” I have no idea, I haven’t read it yet.
  10. AIG’s Bailout — A long article on it. That’s all I know.
  11. How India Avoided a Crisis — Joe Nocera talks about how India avoided … fine, you get it. Gotta be something worth knowing in here.
  12. How Spain Avoided a Crisis — It goes into some details about how they thought about the risks in the market and how they avoided the issues.
  13. Three Part Washington Post Series on AIG’s Collapse — By the end of this reading list I’m going to know every detail about the AIG bailout or the mainstream media should be vivisected.
  14. Anatomy of a Crisis — Profile of Bernanke and the crisis. It’s long and in the New Yorker, so it must be both worth reading and difficult to find the time and will to read.
  15. Euromoney Article on Lehman and Prime Brokerages — Once again, it’s long and it’s about a crisis. Must be worth reading.
  16. Banks vs. Consumers — In one corner you have lobbyists, PACs, and well-connected executives. In the other corner you have the people that actually elect the public officials who make that rules that will determine the outcome. Given that description, it has a surprise ending!
  17. NYT Advocates a Consumer Czar — This is just something I believe should be done. Hopefully they have facts I can arm myself with.
  18. Profile of Henry Blodget — This might actually remain on my list for a long time, since he never answers my emails. Although, Dan Frommer and I are Twitter pals, so maybe I’ll read it soon after all.
  19. Profile of Jimmy Cayne — I guess I’ll wait until I’m feeling down on myself…
  20. Inflation Swindles the Equity Investor — Not sure how this 1977 Warren Buffett article got on my list, but it hasn’t been on anywhere near as long as it’s been around.
  21. A Short Banking History of the U.S. — I have no idea how this got on there… NONE!
  22. A whole bunch of “Background of the Merger” sections from filings….

Argh. CliffsNotes… ?

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Why Google Should Buy the New York Times

June 23, 2008

Well, it seems like this is one of those persistent rumors, although tracking down an actual source of said rumor is difficult. Even Google’s C.E.O. was questioned about it:

[Question:] The New York Times is under pressure to sell. Blogs are abuzz with the idea that Google ought to buy it, because it’s in your interest to keep the quality of journalism high.

[Answer:] I’m not aware of a proposal for us to buy the New York Times, but I’d never rule anything out. So far, we’ve stayed away from buying content. One of the general rules we’ve had is “Don’t own the content; partner with your content company.” First, it’s not our area of expertise. But the more strategic answer is that we’d be picking winners. We’d be disenfranchising a potential new entrant. Our principle is providing all the world’s information.

(emphasis mine).

Now, a few good points are raised. Clearly, as we all realize, the fate of newspapers is a hot topic for debate, partially (mostly?) because it’s a media meta-issue. But, I would claim, there are reasons such a deal could make sense…

1. Google can begin to take a much more integrated path to advertising. Already Google has begun to integrate offline media into it’s suite of products it gives out to track a site’s effectiveness… Now, if Google had an outlet to cross sell print ads and help an end user optimize advertising campaigns across T.V., the Web, and print media … well, sounds like a game changer, no? After that all that’s left are integrating radio, billboards, and maybe skywriting …

2. The New York Times is currently a content creator that distributes its own content. But does it need to be? First of all, the NY Times owns lots of different properties, so their ability to distribute is beyond one print newspaper. Indeed The New York Times itself seems to have the right thoughts as far as leveraging it’s online presence. This seems to show in their results. For example, from their annual report

The Times Company was the 10th largest presence on the Web, with 48.7 million unique visitors in December 2007, up approximately 10% from December 2006. Last year the Company generated a total of $330 million in digital revenues, up 20%, or 22% excluding the additional week in 2006. Digital revenues now account for more than 10% of our total revenues compared with 8% in 2006.

(emphasis mine).

Think about how many companies are deciding, now, whether to put advertising dollars to work with the New York Times or with Google… eliminate the decision! Now some of the $42 billion in print advertising dollars doesn’t have to lose effectiveness as circulation drops, it merely becomes more mobile. The chunk that is going to the New York Times (which has approximately $3 billion in revenue) now goes to Google (and who wants to bet it also grows in size?). Furthermore, Google can easily take a great brand and content creation machine and de-couple it from its historical outlet, namely, dead trees. Dow Jones distributes its content, the one who shall not be named generates content for distribution, so why couldn’t Google open up distribution of the New York Times’ content? It could–as a matter of fact the New York Times does this already, with the New York Times Syndicate. I could find no evidence of the syndication effort contributing significantly to the bottom line in the NYT SEC filings nor in their annual report–seems like this effort could be strengthened as well.

3. The New York Times’ ability to distribute content is a great complement to what Google already offers. Have you ever read the New York Times’ own Open, a blog dedicated to coding done inside the Times? Clearly the Times has a massive infrastructure dedicated to personalization, pushing news out into the world, and solving a number of other technological hurdles. Could Google, perhaps, add a full suite of online publishing applications to it’s Google Apps product? I bet.

4. Google owning the New York Times is good for news and journalism. When you have a deep-pocketed owner whose content distribution business focuses on turning out a quality product, it’s better than having shareholders who focus on being profitable. The problem with a newspaper is that it’s business is the newspaper business–it’s not the core business of the New York Times to sell it’s content and drive up the circulation of the papers with which it competes for subscriptions. If Google, with it’s massive online businesses, can drive it’s profit up by 10% (for one year), when added to the annual profits of the New York Times itself, the acquisition has paid for itself (assuming no premium to the market price). This certainly seems doable, given Google’s phenominal growth so far–and once the synergies begin accelerating Google’s own growth, why tinker with the paper?

So, for all these reasons, it seems like Google can jump into the content creation business the right way. With acquiring a strong web presence, getting a “hook” into other advertising avenues on a massive scale, and even adding to their core competencies, Google is uniquely positioned to modernize how the market thinks about the value of newspaper companies. Indeed, in doing all of this, Google can even advance it’s “Do no evil” motto by supporting pure journalism. All-in-all, the combination of these things seems to be a good case to be made by Google for purchasing the New York Times.

The Post Pipeline: June 12th, 2008

June 12, 2008

Okay folks, I’m not dead. I moved, went for a reunion, and other assorted things. I said before that I wanted to start posting my post ideas… hopefully some of you will enjoy thinking about them while I do. So, without further adieu, the first “post pipeline”

1. Why facebook should buy Yelp — As I think about the problem with facebook monetizing it’s traffic, the issue seems pretty clear. There is no link between social networking and commerce… I’m your friend, great. Now, add something focused and with some commercial application, and you can sell ads better.

2. Why Google should buy the New York Times — This has been rumored, but I came up with it on my own, I promise. Firstly, Google can monetize traffic more effectively. Second, the times has built a very sophisticated content management system. Google can leverage that.

3. A surprise multi-part series. This will essentiall break down something very complex, piece by piece. I hope this will be a great addition to the regular posts I write.

4. The role of ego in finance — This is an important trait that allows bigger, better, and innovative things. It’s an important thing, so it should be discussed. Obviously, there are perils.

5. A series where I argue two sides of one issue. Been batting this one around for a while. So far, the title I have selected is “Devil’s J.D./M.B.A.” … play on advocate and brings business into it. Please help with the title… please!

6. A post on Sovereign Wealth Funds — I’m skeptical this one will materialize. It’s interesting to think about some things relating to SWFs, but this keeps dragging on. We’ll see…

Some interesting things:

A. Consumerist — Go there right now. It’s simply amazing. The personal empowerment and the blunt forced instruments afforded to a consumer looking to help themselves (executive info, B.B.B., consumer protection laws and rights, etc.) are extremely interesting as they have that human drama element and have a “big guy” versus the “little guy.”

B. Concept for Mobile FireFox — Simple and amazingly powerful. Very intuitive. iPhone, are you listening?