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Mar 7 2006
More National Consolidation
Looks like two of the largest self storage companies � Public Storage and Shurgard � will be combining forces. Public Storage announced that it will be buying Shurgard for US$3 billion. The combined company will have 2,100 locations in 38 states. This combination will put additional pressure on the national Yellow Pages sector as the combined company will have additional leverage to allocate an estimated US$20 million in print Yellow Pages spending.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  14:17 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Mar 6 2006
Verizon Enters Nashville
Charles Laughlin pointed out an article from the Nashville Business Times about Verizon's entry into that market. Kathy Harless identified Nashville as one of the expansion markets at DDC '05 in her keynote address. Here is the article.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  13:08 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [1]

Feb 2 2006
Coldplay Tickets, NFL Football, MTV
Recently I found myself "stuck" with some extra tickets for a Coldplay concert in Sacramento. So I did what everyone told me to do � put them up on Craigslist. Not a nibble. At the same time I posted the tickets on StubHub. Within a couple of days I had confirmation that someone wanted the tickets. StubHub sent me to a link to print out a FedEx label where upon I marched to the local postal service store, handed them my FedEx label and the tickets. Today, three days after the concert, I got confirmation that the proceeds from my tickets had been deposited into my PayPal account. Ten minutes later I directed PayPal to transfer the money to my checking account. This was a seamless and painless experience. StubHub seems to have figured out all the pieces to the puzzle and I, for one, will be turning there to buy and sell tickets.

Earlier this week the NFL awarded some set of games to its own NFL Network rather than the usual suspects who had bid on them � namely Fox, Comcast, CBS and some new bidders � Verizon in particular. That the NFL chose its own network points to the diminished role the traditional networks and carriers have in a world where the pace of convergence is accelerating. While the NFL Network's reach may be considerably smaller, it is obviously a highly targeted market that is � oh by the way � probably willing to pay to watch NFL games. And besides, go ask Joe's AAA Plumbing if he wants to advertise on the NFL Network � my guess is his answer will be "where do I sign."

MTV recently launched its broadband channel targeted at the 18-24 college crowd called Uber. The site mixes professional and amateur content into a constellation of images and sounds and information that in theory appeal to the audience. The college audience has long been desired by local advertisers � just consider the volume of burritos and pizzas consumed and you get the picture. It will be interesting to see if Uber can find a way to sell local advertising to Betty Joe's Homemade Pizza store while keeping the site sufficiently cool and edgy.
Blog: Global Yellow Pages Blog , Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  11:07 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Jan 26 2006
Smartphone Dilemma
The other day I was considering updating my old "candybar" cellphone. I went into the Sprint/Nextel retail store and began playing around with numerous new and advanced smartphones. I was all set to pull the trigger on buying a new smartphone when I asked a simple question: "How much talk time does this wizbang phone offer?" The salesperson turned his head down and said, "Well, sir, frankly not very much � an hour or two is about all I can talk if I am doing anything on the Web." That small and vital piece of information was all I needed to march over and choose a traditional "candybar" cellphone � one that only does the basics but offers hours of digital talk time. The lesson here is that, while the features of a smartphone are very interesting, the notion of recharging my phone every couple of hours was a quick turn-off. While there may be plenty of early adopters for the smartphone, anyone with half a brain will wait till they solve the talk-time dilemma.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  12:47 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Nov 15 2005
More Free Weekly Classifieds
If you��re in New York this summer and happen to be exiting one of many high-traffic transportation centers on a Thursday afternoon, you��ll have a 1.9% chance of being handed a copy of the New York Times�� new free classified tabloid �� Marketplace Weekly (not to be confused with the public radio program Marketplace).

So��s not to make this just a classified paper, Marketplace Weekly will be ��supplemented by articles culled from The Times's Job Market, Real Estate, Automotive, Business and Dining Out sections, among others�� according to the press release. We wonder how many of the 1.9 percent of commuters will fold up Marketplace and carry it home unless it is loaded with listings and reviews of upcoming weekend entertainment, cultural and recreational activities. If we��re right �� and it would be hard to imagine any other scenario �� we're watching one of the world��s elite newspaper companies launch what amounts to (dare we say) a weekly alternative newspaper. Sounds to us a lot like a new Village Voice has sprung on the streets of New York. Only time will tell if this is a flash in the pan or a trend to expect across America.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  14:06 | permalink | comments [0] | trackbacks [0]

Sep 11 2005
A Marriage Made in Heaven?
Having waited and waited to upgrade my cellphone technology and music listening experience, I read with considerable interest the hot rumors about the pending product launch of a new Motorola cellphone that comes loaded with iTunes software.

With 2.5G and 3G wireless networks on the horizon, downloading full songs wirelessly will soon be a routine experience. So I wonder, will the flight attendant allow me to operate this phone between take-off and landing? What about if I want to take a run �� will this new fangled phone/music player be light-enough so as not to weigh me down (got plenty that already weighs me down)? Will colleagues or clients now be able to reach me even when I am running? What about battery life �� will playing songs on my cellphone mean taking the risk that I might miss a call because I��ve sucked all the life out of the battery? And what about all the great rich local content that will soon be available to me on my ��next�� cellphone or PDA �� will I be trading useful content for music? I think I��ll play that game that millions of consumers and business owners learned many years ago - ��hide and seek�� - or is it ��wait and see?��
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  13:20 | permalink | comments [1] | trackbacks [0]

Sep 11 2005
Power Shift in Hollywood
Last week the New York Times did pieces on the current state of the movie rental market and the state of movie going. Both thought-provoking articles offer views of the challenges industries built before the age of the Internet are facing. Take 1: The movie theatres will host almost 12 percent fewer moviegoers this year than last year. The decline has been steady with fewer total moviegoers this year than in 2001 (pre-September 11). Some experts offer the lack of quality movies as the primary cause for the decline.

Others, including Robert Iger of Disney, offer a more chilling perspective: ��We can't allow tradition to stand in the way of where the consumer can go, or wants to go. The music industry learned this the hard way." An ex-Warner Brothers executive said, "It's the flat-panel television and the sound system, with the DVD option, that has radically changed the quality of the in-home experience. The home theater has arrived . . . you have to change the business model of the movie business." Take 2: The movie rental business is also being turned upside down. According to Adams Media Research, there were nearly 3.2 billion rental transactions last year, DVD sales totaled about 1.1 billion, and there were 350 million purchases of movies through video on demand or pay per view. Blockbuster Online hopes to double its subscriber base from one million to two million by Q1 2006, chasing Netflix��s subscriber base of 3.2 million. Add in the aggressive marketing by Comcast Cable offering video on demand and you get a picture of the consumer adjusting if not radically changing their movie watching habits. Take 3: Technology is altering the power structure of the movie business. With the advent of the home theatre �� be it on a 60-inch plasma TV with surround sound or a more modest 32-inch Sony with a stereo speakers �� it is increasingly more convenient, more enjoyable and less expensive to sit in the comfort of one��s own home than to trek out to the local movie theatre and drop 10 bucks a ticket and 6 bucks on popcorn and soda. Increasingly, the consumer is in control, able to trade one venue (the home theatre) against another (the movie theatre); one format (film) against another (digital); and one experience (watching in public) against another (watching in private). Just another industry that might want to wish away the Internet.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  13:19 | permalink | comments [3] | trackbacks [0]

Sep 11 2005
Will Wireless Broadband Take Hold?
Verizon is heavily promoting its $60 per month wireless broadband offering. They claim to cover a population of 130 million. That is a lot more expensive than my high-speed cable connectivity I have at my office.

I doubt I��d switch from my existing hardwire connection to the Verizon wireless offer and I can��t think of enough out of office occasions to justify $60 per month. So where��s Verizon going with this? It��s a clear shot at trying to take share from existing connectivity providers �� be it competing telcos or cable operators. Just one more piece of evidence that Verizon tossed out the playbook that defined their market opportunity by their franchise telephone operations years ago and they have no intention of dusting it off anytime soon.
Blog: Local Media Blog
posted by  Neal Polachek at  13:19 | permalink | comments [3] | trackbacks [0]

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