Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ad Spending By Medium - Great info!

Ever curious as to where the $$$ get spent on advertising and how they compare/rank vs. each other? How much do cable companies get vs. Network TV or Radio, etc?

Well, below is a great chart I found at http://marketingcharts.com/ . Check out the site and sign up for their free newsletter full of great info.





Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Foreclosures up over 100% Y-Y - RealtyTrac.com info.

From http://realtytrac.com this a.m., foreclosures are up over 100% Y-Y. Areas in red represent the hardest hit parts of the country with grey areas impacted the least and blue areas next to least. Here in Dallas there are some areas of pink



Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Consumer Confidence Hits 15 year low?!

From moodys.com today.....
http://moodys.com

The Conference Board index of consumer confidence dipped modestly again in April, in line with expectations. The index came in at 62.3, down from April’s upwardly revised 65.9 (previously 64.5).

This was the fourth consecutive decline in the index and left it at its second lowest level since October 1993. Assessments of labor market conditions fell again. The share of consumers finding jobs plentiful fell 2.6 percentage points to 16.6%, the lowest reading since September 2004.

Consumers are also becoming increasingly concerned about the outlook for their incomes, which does not bode well for spending. Buying plans for homes fell further, matching their lowest level since December 1982. Debt burdens are high and saving is low, and cash flow is becoming hindered by the increased difficulty in obtaining credit and declining home equity. There also is the burden from energy prices, as oil continues to track near $120 and gasoline prices appear headed toward $4.00 per gallon.

Consumer expectations for inflation soared to the second highest level on record back to 1987.

There is a long list of drags on confidence, including soaring energy prices, weakness and volatility in equity markets, weakening housing markets and stretched household finances. On top of this, the labor market is deteriorating.



Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Thursday, April 24, 2008

States face Budget Gaps/ Potential Crisis looming?



This is what happens.

1) economy picks up
2) states spend more
3) economy tanks
4) politicians and state goes WHOOPS!

The bottom line is that states spent too much during the boom times due to the real estate boom. How about some tightening of the belt or reduction of some spending for once? This is VERY common in 3rd world economies. You frequently see stuff like this happening during a "currency crisis" where the gov't spends more than they take in for several years or gets impacted SIGNIFICANTLY by some time of external shock to its revenue base.

Will Venenzuala, as an example, be able to spend $$$ the way they currently are if oil goes to $50? Probably not....and social unrest will occur.

Here in the ole U.S. , where we live more comfortably than 99% of the world, people will whine a bit but we don't see the type of lobbying/people gathering/movements like we used to see in the past. Call it apathy?? I don't know but taxes are going to go up BIG TIME, in my opinion, in the next 5-10 years so people better wake up!

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com/

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Social Networking Growth According to Nielson Online

Linkedin.com is the fastest growing social network Y-Y. Much of that growth is due to the unique nature of business relationships (people work with ALOT of people) and the desire of many people to keep in contact with people as they move jobs/locations, etc.



Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Monday, April 21, 2008

Internet Search MarketShare Data - March 2008

Very consistent data with #1, #2 and #3 marketshare data. The ability for anyone to catch google is slim to none. That is why #3 is trying to buyout #2, to get CLOSE and shake the game up quite a bit. Even if the deal would occur, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if google retained 60% share for awhile. Over time, as markets get more specific, we may see some marketshare erosion but, for general searches, Google is a clear #1 by a long shot.



Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blockbuster to buy Circuit City - DOH!

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080414/blockbuster_circuit_city.html

Anyone else lose complete respect for Carl Icahn and his investment ideas? I mean, one declining franchise, without a good balance sheet, is going to purchase a #2 electronics franchise that is losing billions. Have the Blockbuster executives (based here in Dallas) walked through a Circuit City recently? Talk about DEAD FOOT TRAFFIC.....Everyone goes to Best Buy now because they don't know if Circuit City will be around 2 years from now!

This will be interesting to watch. Lets see if they truly can raise financing for what I believe, at face value, appears to be one of the strangest deals/acquisitions in the last 10-20 years. This is the kind of business scenario that Harvard Business Cases are created out of.

Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com/

Related Sites:
http://www.circuitcity.com/
http://www.bestbuy.com/
http://www.amazon.com/

Grocery prices / Inflation about to hit your wallet!

I posted some similar commentary on this topic 4/12/08. Well, here are some additional datappoints/articles backing up my thoughts.

If Grocery stores post FLAT results isn’t that really -9% to -10% growth as they are passing along higher costs to their customers? Inflation at the grocery store is up there and I think this is a topic that few are discussing. How much are Walmart’s numbers propped UP due to HIGHER prices that they must pass onto customers? Are there numbers as solid as everyone would like to think they are given their focus on supercenters/groceries, etc? I know Macy’s isn’t eggs and dairy products, up 20% + in the last 12 months.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080414/ap_on_bi_ge/inflation_squeeze;_ylt=As1L9m0HHQcGWZVuiBUgBItv24cA

Hope somebody will understand that $60 to fill up my gas tank every 4-5 days + higher grocery bills = less $$$ to spend eating out/shopping….

Dan
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Interesting to think re: the company below...
http://Walmart.com

Health Care Costs Gone Wrong - What is wrong with America...

WOW! This is not how I envisioned health care in our nation. I understand survival of the fittest, the need to try and manage health care costs but this is really about kicking someone when they are down.

This is another nail in the Republican Coffin in the 2008 Presidential race if they don't address this. Basically the cost of medicine will SKYROCKET for those with progressive diseases or those fighting diseases. The amount, per month, will really ding the pocket of the average American, especially those with kids.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/us/14drug.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&no_interstitial

Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

Monday, April 14, 2008

MGM Mirage laying off 400 managers

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080414/mgm_mirage_layoffs.html

Well, I hate to say it but this was inevitable and could have been seen a mile away. I've been predicting this for a solid 1-2 months now re: an economic slowdown and it impacting Vegas and the Casinos.

What I am wondering is, how will this impact WSOP 2008 turnout? This is the first economic downturn that the poker boom has seen since MoneyMaker won the WSOP back in 2003.

Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com/

Interesting site to take a look at folks
http://www.pokerati.com/

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Inflation Causes Riots WorldWide...Food costs..

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89583839

I commented re: how inflation will hurt retail spending and the economy in a previous post.

Imagine if you could barely afford to feed your family. Egypt and Haiti are highlighted in the above article but, in China & Vietnam, as an example, there are HUGE problems going on with the rice prices going up by nearly 100% in a few years (the main food staple).

Forget a declining economy, we are talking about widespread panic/survival of the fittest in some 3rd world economies now....

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Consumer Spending to Decline according to TNS Retail Forward's March ShopperScape survey.

http://www.ddimagazine.com/displayanddesignideas/content_display/industry-news/e3i2bdcb48919b5e424893ef49222b61d26

Three times as many shoppers (40 percent) now plan to spend "much less" or "somewhat less" compared with shoppers (13 percent) that plan to spend "much more” or "somewhat more" than last year. In February, the ratio was two-to-one. The planned spending cutbacks are most pronounced among down-market and middle-market shoppers. The share of each segment planning to spend "much less" increased by a double-digit amount.

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Linens N Things to Declare BK?

Anything related to housing (ie. disposable income spending in the home) is being impacted negatively MORE than other types of spending, including clothing (my 2 cents).

Rumors are now floating around that Apollo group, that bought Linens N Things for $1.6 billion back in 2005, will possibly declare bankruptcy in the near future......

http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN1136290720080411

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4th Airline in as many weeks to Declare BK? Another sign of economic weakness

Gas prices going through the roof and consumers only willing to spend so much = airlines declaring Bankruptcy left and right. This economy is only getting worse.......more pain is coming (sad to say & I hate to say it).

Aloha, ATA, Skybus & now Frontier. Frontier will still operate in BK while others will face liquidation but it says something about the fragility of their finances when a credit card policy shift by their bank drives a company into bankruptcy....

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2008-04-11-frontier-files-for-bankruptcy_N.htm?csp=34?se=yahoorefer

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Middle Class Feels Worse today then ever....


FYI, this is why the Republicans will lose the election, even if Clinton gets nominated...... http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080409/ap_on_bi_ge/middle_class_poll;_ylt=AmU8V7_UY7vMdyt3B3UrKv9v24cA

Interesting Tidbits from the Pew Research Report...


  • Nearly eight in 10 of all people, or 79 percent, said they believe it has become more difficult compared with five years ago for the middle class to maintain their standard of living, up from 65 percent in 1986.

  • Politically, 58 percent of middle-class Americans said they believed the GOP favors the rich, while nearly two-thirds say the Democratic Party favors the middle class (39 percent) or the poor (26 percent).

  • Middle-class prosperity overall also lagged compared with richer Americans. From 1983 to 2004, the median net worth of upper-income families — defined as households with annual incomes above 150 percent of the median — grew by 123 percent, while the median net worth of middle-income families rose by just 29 percent.

Dan Ross


http://www.BetterBizBooks.com/


FYI, another link with a gif file :)


http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Chart-highlights-data-poll-status-middle-class-2c-x-3/photo//080409/480/eae9d18d3ff146c8afc36224f41ffd88//s:/ap/20080409/ap_on_bi_ge/middle_class_poll;_ylt=Ate2l.YtVGKH25LkywU2NnVv24cA


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Additional Datapoints re: Vegas and their economy...

The worst hit real estate market Y-Y, tying Miami at down 19% (case shiller index).

Then we look at traffic stats ├činteresting which carriers bring tourists to Vegas. I’d be amazed if traffic held up over the long-term with this economy doing as poorly as it is….

http://cms.mccarran.com/dsweb/Get/Document-219570

Trump not breaking ground on second tower…
http://www.lvrj.com/business/17334999.html

Financing is hurting development of new towers – DUH! – One deal was 80% sold with 20% non-refundable deposits and still couldn’t get going…..
http://www.lvrj.com/business/16776061.html

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Monday, April 7, 2008

More/Less Freebies in 2008 from Casinos?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080406/ap_on_bi_ge/casino_comps

My Take: I always love it when a writer choses ATLANTIC city to be representative of the Casino industry? They made $$$ when NYC was there and they were the only ones to get NYC $$$. While that city sees Y-Y declines or flat revenue (from gambling) other markets climb Y-Y and new markets open up.....Talk about pathetic.

The real issue here: With the economy going into the toilet do comps go up or down in Vegas/other areas in 2008? Your opinion?

I personally think they go up SIGNIFICANTLY as people's disposable cash flow is getting crushed right now. Eventually people will figure out that, they need to get people there for them to spend $$$. Hotel room prices need to come down, more freebies need to happen and, with airline prices being through the roof, it wouldn't surprise me to see NEGATIVE or very concerning numbers from Vegas within 3-6 months.

Alot of tourism comes from CA in Vegas. Well, last I checked that economy and FL were getting crushed as people can't use their homes as an ATM anymore.

Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com/

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cell Phone ONLY usage on the rise....

http://www.informationweek.com/news/telecom/voice/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=3JHZ2SGQHZ2SUQSNDLOSKHSCJUNN2JVN?articleID=207001937&_requestid=126604

The number of people without traditional landline phones is increasing, as a growing number of U.S. adults use only mobile phones, a market research firm said Friday.

In a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of last year, Harris Interactive found that about one in seven adults only uses a cell phone, up from roughly one in 10 in 2006. .....additionally, the percentage of adults with cell phones has increased significantly over the last year. Nearly nine in 10 adults have a mobile phone, up from 77% percent a year ago.

My Take:
Interesting technology trend to watch as it will have a profound impact on people's lives moving forward + create winners/losers in the technology space for investors.

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Apple/ITunes #1 Retailer of music

http://www.reuters.com/article/companyNews/idUSN0346155020080404

Apple Inc announced on Thursday that its iTunes music store had surpassed Wal-Mart Stores Inc to become the largest U.S. music retailer. Its announcement was based on consumer data collected in January and February by market research firm NPD that counted 12 songs being equal to one CD.
In February NPD said Itunes had passed Best Buy and Target to get the #2 spot.
My Take:
Here is some great stats for you that really shows you how ITunes will just PULL away in the upcoming months/years from the competition.....
* 70% of Internet paid Downloaded music comes from ITunes. 50% of teenagers didn't purchase a CD last year, up from 33% the prior year. Folks, THEY AREN'T EVEN BUYING CDS! They are going PURELY digital in droves....
* Fifty percent of downloaders who are aware of more than one site for digital music consider iTunes the best digital music sales service, Ipsos found. That compares with 41% in 2006 and 33% in 2005. Napster is rated best by 10% of downloaders. That's the same as last year and still lower than Napster's high of 22% in 2005. - Information Week
Dan Ross

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Subprime Auto Loans & Tools of the Trade

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20080331/tc_usatoday/hightechgeardisablescarifborrowermissespayment

Apparently 7 million autos purchased by subprime auto buyers. Estimated default rate is 30% for subprime auto borrowers vs. 7% for prime auto borrowers.

So many subprime borrowers are installing these lojack devices onto the car. No payment, no car movement or annoying noise, etc.

Companies selling such devices include:
Sekurus
Pay Technologies
PassTimeUSA

So as credit disappears, and investors won't buy the auto securities sold (yup, those loans are collateralized and sold too folks) the auto industry will further contract to "true demand" as I call it.

I think this (auto sales) are going to be a nightmare/HUGE mess this year

Dan Ross
http://BetterBizBooks.com

More signs of a slowing economy & higher consumer costs (inflation)

This is just the first crack to show....I expect some SERIOUSLY ugly numbers in car sales this year. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080401/ap_on_bi_ge/auto_sales;_ylt=Ag6M.kBLG0ZFVJvH3xBrSxeyBhIF

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080401/auto_sales.html

"General Motors and Chrysler both reported a 19 percent drop in U.S. sales on Tuesday. Ford's sales fell 14 percent and Toyota was down 10 percent compared with last March. Nissan fell 4 percent and Honda reported a 3 percent drop."

You see what is going on with your grocery bill? Expect to see that cost spike in the upcoming months....Here are some examples http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080331/ap_on_bi_ge/uneasy_economy_sticker_shock;_ylt=Ap03FsYGP.vCTidFciJ.K9Gs0NUE

Dan Ross
http://www.BetterBizBooks.com