Saturday, November 8, 2008

Marketing headlines in a 'Debbie Downer' economy

Although Albuquerque as a whole has been buffered by the economic crisis to a great degree, local murmurs of cut-backs and lay-offs are increasing. Within my own network, over the past few weeks I learned of a minimum 5% cut-back on IT spending by the State. Lionsgate films has nearly backed out of moving production facilities to Rio Rancho. Multiple local papers are subtly pushing out long-term staffers. Even the Rail Runner train that will connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe is struggling due to its funding being contingent upon retail sales being slow (they receive a % of the retail tax revenue). Times are tough.

Over the past few weeks I was engrossed in the election and fell behind on my RSS feeds. While combing through media articles in mass quantities I realized nearly every post was negative. List below summarizes headlines from recent media / marketing news stories:
* Walt Disney's profit fell 13% in the fiscal fourth quarter as it braced for what it expects to be a tough year ahead for all its businesses.
* Luxury sales dropped 20% in October from a year earlier, according to data from MasterCard.
* Rodale, the publisher of Men's Health, Prevention and Runner's World, is cutting 111 jobs as ad sales continue to decline.
* Most of the largest newspapers saw a decline in print circulation in the six months through September.
* New York Times said it will consider cutting its dividend. The company also reported a 51% decline in third-quarter net income.
* Paramount Pictures' decision to delay two big holiday films could be an early sign of Hollywood's retrenchment amid the economic crisis.
* Sumner Redstone's National Amusements is in talks with lenders, suggesting the holding company is still grappling with financial issues.
* Tesla Motors is cutting staff and delaying the introduction of its second battery-powered vehicle, the Model S, until 2011.
* Investor AB net loss widened to $1.2 billion for its third quarter as weaker equity markets pressured the value of its holdings.
* Booksellers are rushing to push financial advice titles, as worries mount over the crisis in global markets.
* The New York Times finalized plans to shut down the Web site of the International Herald Tribune. Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle and Cleveland Plain Dealer announced staff cuts.

So who does well in today's economy?
* Inexpensive alchol: U.S. consumers are buying more wine in the $9 to $12 price bracket — with sales in this range up more than 12% from last year, according to Nielsen.
* Fatty foods (source)
* Utility companies & oil industry
* Video games (at-home entertainment for families): Key growth engines will include online and wireless games, new-generation consoles and the burgeoning in-game advertising business (source).
* Netflix has maintained relative stability in lieu of market volatility
* Shoping comparrison search engines
* Universities - surplus of jobless professionals using time period to go back to school
* Online Courses
* Prescription drugs: less jobs = less healthcare = full price meds... Come on O'Bama, fix everything for us :-)

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