Tag Archives: Amazon
Discovery Communications reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, hurt by losses at the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), sending its shares down 5.5 percent in morning trading.
OWN, the joint venture with the “queen of talk” that is struggling with lackluster ratings, was part of the reason Discovery reported a nearly 30 percent decline in first-quarter earnings.
“We have a long way to go,” Discovery President and Chief Executive David Zaslav said on a conference call with analysts about OWN. “We remain confident in the growth potential of this network.”
OWN has slashed costs by cutting 30 employees and canceling its heavily hyped Rosie O’Donnell talk show. It recently came out with a new slate of reality shows to help the network find its legs.
Discovery expects the network to achieve cash flow break- even during the second half of 2013, Zaslav said on the call.
First-quarter earnings per share of 57 cents missed analysts’ average forecast of 60 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The challenges at OWN overshadowed Discovery’s overall revenue growth boosted by strong ad sales and distribution deals with the likes of Amazon and Netflix for its content from other cable networks such as Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.
“I thought the results were outstanding,” Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said, citing the increases at its domestic and international divisions. “The Oprah issue — that shouldn’t be a surprise, it takes time for a network like that to grow.”
If the actress calling herself “Jane Doe” in court documents was hoping to remain anonymous, filing a $1 million lawsuit against the Internet movie database IMDb and its parent company Amazon.com for revealing her real age was probably not the way to do it.
In court documents filed on Oct. 13, “Jane Doe” is described only as an actress of Asian descent who “scrupulously hid both her real name and age” as she tried to get work in the acting industry.
According to the documents, the actress believed that both her age and her hard-to-pronounce Asian name were drawbacks in Hollywood where “youth is king.” The lawsuit said that “if one is perceived to be over-the-hill i.e. approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up and coming actress, such as the Plaintiff, to get work…”
IMDb is a searchable database that posts photos and lists the acting credits of virtually every actor, director and producer working in Hollywood. “Jane Doe” decided to subscribe to an “industry insider” version of the database called IMDbPro. Shortly after she signed up and typed in a credit card number to pay for the monthly subscriber fee, she noticed that her real age was posted and visible for the public — and presumably any casting agent or director — to see.
The suit alleges that IMDbPro must have matched credit card information with public records to glean the information without her knowledge. “Jane Doe” asked IMDbPro to remove the information and they refused.
The suit alleges that IMDbPro “intercepts credit card information obtained during the subscription process for the purposes of gathering information about its subscribers” and further “both defendants are fully aware of the information-gathering, storing and usage process and have done nothing to stop the unlawful and wrong practices.”
Calling the practice “unfair, immoral and unscrupulous”, Jane Doe’s Seattle-based lawyers are asking for a jury trial and $1 million in punitive damages. Amazon.com owns IMDb and both companies are named in the lawsuit.
No one from Amazon responded to a request from ABC News.com for comment, although Amazon did tell KIRO-FM, the radio station that originally broke the story, that the company would not comment on pending litigation.
Lying about your age in not exactly uncommon in Hollywood and actresses ranging from Sandra Bullock to Jennifer Lopez have been accused of shaving a year or two off their official bio. Even deducting a decade is not unheard of. Actress Gabrielle Carteris, who played Andrea Zuckerman on 90210, was 29 when she took the role of the 16-year-old student. She was “age-outed” years later when a magazine wrote an in-depth profile on her.
But that kind of fudging is getting increasingly difficult to do, as more and more public records databases migrate online. You might be able to lie about your age to your agent, but it’s harder to do at the DMV.
Apple has confirmed maybe the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley: It’s been working on a cloud service, and will announce it at the June 6 Worldwide Developers Conference.
So now we know annual developer’s conference will unveil “iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering,” but we don’t know yet what it is, or what exactly will reside at the domain name it may have bought for $4.5 million in April.
iCloud could be the mythical iTunes streaming service, a possibility that is looking increasingly likely now that Apple has most of the major record labels signed up for it, in a space pioneered by Amazon and Google, which has no such deals. Or it could be Apple’s version of DropBox, the amazing sync and storage service that currently glues together the whole iOS ecosystem along with its desktop service.
Or it could be yet another abortion of an internet service, like Mobile Me, iDisk and Ping before it.
Whatever it is, it’ll have to be good. DropBox is already the default file system for iOS, and can be used by any developer, on almost any other OS. If iCloud is to succeed, it needs to be just as available to developers. ITunes streaming, too, needs to be something special. A “cloud locker” service like Amazon and Google’s is almost pointless, and we already have amazing streaming services like Spotify and Rdio.
Still, this won’t stop endless speculation during the next week, as pundits work up theories like a shaving brush works up a lather from a tiny, almost nonexistent nubbin of soap. And then on Monday — boom — we’ll know for sure.
Apple also said the keynote will be delivered by Steve Jobs, who is currently on medical leave, and that the WWDC will also focus on the new version of OS X 10.7 Lion, and the upcoming iOS 5.
Thinking about cutting costs or saving money may seem easy, but its quite challenging. With patience, motivation and some helpful tips, you will start feeding the piggy bank instead of breaking it.
When saving money there are some things you are going to need to understand. First, it takes time, effort and motivation to get out of debt. Second, you have to be realistic about your goals and how much you can save.
Here are some easy ways to help cut back costs and save your hard earned money.
Make a budget: Write down everything you spend your money on. By keeping track of items being purchased you will be surprised how much money you are wasting.
Get out of debt: Try chipping away at your debt first before you set up a savings account. If you have credit card debt, you can call the credit card company and ask them to lower your interest rates.
Buy used: If you’re thinking about buying a new car look for a used one instead. One thing to note, when you drive off the lot, the car loses up to 20% of its value. You can also, search on Craigslist for items such as furniture, tools, bikes, you name it. You’ll be amazed how much you can save buying used.
Lower your car payments: If you have a car loan try paying an extra payment every couple of months in order to shrink the premium and lower the interest rate.
Shop wisely: Search online for deals on EBAY or Amazon. Don’t always think sale items are saving you money. Most of the time you really don’t need it.
Pack your lunch or make your cup of coffee at home: If you make your coffee at home you’ll save $20.00 a week. Times that by 52 weeks and in a year, that’s a total savings of $1,040.
Use less or cut back: When you’re going to make a purchase, ask yourself; “Will this make me money, happy or improve my life?” If not, you may want to reconsider. Also, try cutting back on your cell phone plan, cable bill and dining out. Always remember, every bit counts.
Set up a savings account: Try online banking like ING Direct. Most online banks have higher interest rates. So, make a habit of putting away a certain amount each month. Have a goal in mind, but be rational. If you want to buy a house, car, go on that special getaway, plan it out and see how much you can save to obtain your goal!
I hope these tips help. In a tough economy, we all have to be resourceful. Please share your thoughts with us on how you save money.
Amazon (AMZN) took a big gamble this week, one that could backfire in court.
The company launched Cloud Drive, designed to let you store your music collection online. All you need are a computer and an Internet connection — or an Android-based phone — and you can listen to your music library from anywhere. Amazon is letting customers store about 1,000 songs for free.
Sounds kind of amazing. Investors were impressed, sending Amazon shares up nearly 7% in two days to $179.42. But here’s where Amazon gets into trouble: It didn’t ask permission from record labels before launching the service.
You can bet it took all of 10 seconds for all the major record labels to get on the phone with their lawyers over this one. The music labels think Amazon should have re-licensed the music (read: paid more) for online streaming, and one executive described the company’s move as “somewhat stunning,” according to Reuters.
So now the music industry has two sticks of dynamite it’s trying to manage. The first: No one’s sure that what Amazon did is exactly illegal. The second: Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and others are revving up to do the same thing.
Let’s take the legal issue first. Amazon says it’s simply giving users another way to store music. Nothing wrong with that, right?
“We don’t need a license to store music,” Amazon’s music director told The New York Times. “The functionality is the same as (that of) an external hard drive.” Amazon surely vetted this position with its legal team, and right now, the music labels aren’t sure how to handle it.
“We hope that they’ll reach a new license deal,” a Sony spokeswoman told Reuters, “but we’re keeping all of our legal options open.” For now, Amazon’s service doesn’t work with the iPod and iPhone.
The bigger worry for the labels, of course, is that if they don’t get this straightened out now, Apple and Google will launch their own “in the cloud” services without licenses as well. If that happens, any additional money the record labels hoped to make from cloud services will be gone.
You can bet that a long, slow round of negotiations has already begun. Amazon says it doesn’t need new licenses, and maybe it’s right. But Amazon probably has much more planned for its cloud services — stuff it will need new music licenses for — and it wants to stay on the labels’ good side.
Meanwhile, labels need to hammer out a deal soon, before Apple and Google jump in. Worst-case scenario: This all heads to court, and the music industry asks Amazon to pull the plug on its service until the licenses are worked out.
Best-case scenario: Amazon’s bold, no-prior-approval launch forces the music industry to play along, giving everyone the long-overdue option to easily store music online for free.