January 2008 Archives
Getty Images reported their fourth quarter numbers today. Not stellar. Of course the big news (or pending news) is when and if Getty will be sold. The gossip I hear is that offers are on the table today and a deal, if acceptable to the Getty board of directors, will come this month.
Ironically a deal could be announced just about on the anniversary date which Getty walked away from a deal with Jupiterimages last year!
I will not get into discussion about how our numbers for the fourth quarter will be, but I certainly think we are doing better than Getty Images - certainly strategically. We have several initiatives that will be rolling out in the next few weeks that are exciting in both the image and music categories as well as more good news about our so-called Jupiter Super Store project which will be called JupiterDigial or JupiterD (for short).
Clearly the winner in the image and digital content business will go to the company that best understands the next five to ten years. Needless to say this means that the company that understands and has the best Internet vision will be the winner. Need I say more?
I feel for Jerry Yang. Jerry of course is CEO of Yahoo and immensely wealthy. I met him back in 1994 when Yahoo was just getting started. I am sure there are times he longs for those days when life was easy, he was becoming a "rock-Internet star" and the concept of earnings per share was not on the radar screen.
Yesterday was earnings announcement day for Yahoo. (Our Kenneth Corbin of Internet.com covered the announcement.) Jerry and colleague Sue Decker (I remember meeting her in 1995 when she was a stock analyst at DLJ in New York and wanted to learn more about the Internet) cannot be pleased with the Wall Street reception. I know the feeling better than anyone. It is tough being a CEO of a public company that disappoints Wall Street. To me it is like getting a bad grade on on a school term paper. You did your research, you spent hours writing the paper, you proofed it, and then you get a bad grade. You carry around the taste of that bad grade for months. You go back to work and try even harder to get a good grade on the next paper. Some CEOs do not care about the grade as long as they keep their jobs. I think Jerry is similar to me -- he cares.
I still contend that Yahoo needs to change course and accept being a media company instead of a search company. Go out and roll the dice. Buy Cnet or make some other bold move like buying IAC with your paper while it still has value. Keep working on search and related assets, but do not fight the tide of losing search market share to Google. A strong media company with a big search business could be worth twice what Yahoo now sells for.
Many readers know I am a big fan of my BlackBerry Curve 8300. It is a terrific device both for email and as a phone. I use ATT service and have had excellent connectivity throught the USA and the world.
Now I have another service to recommend. I recently installed a Verizon Wireless Broadband card. What a terrific service! I travel a lot. When I get to hotels I now have three methods of connecting with my computer: Ethernet, WiFi and now a Wireless Broadband card. Many fellow travellers know that hotels these days offer only Ehternet or WiFi and not both. Unfortunately sometimes I cannot connect with one of these services. I always have a dial-up option, but try to download several hundred emails with attachments with dial-up! Also loading Web sites these days on dial-up is like watching grass grow.
Wireless broadband is a great backup if one is having problems with Ethernet or WiFi. This weekend I was in Montreal and did not bother with the Ethernet service since it was $25 per day. My Wireless Broadband connection came in handy.
Wireless Broadband cards also let you do email while waiting on the tarmac for a plane to push back from the gate - these waits can be very long. And of course this connectivity option let's you connect on trains and in cars.
If you travel a great deal, I suggest you get a Wireless Broadband card. Warning: I tried out the ATT Wirelss Broadband card for a few months and found it to be slow and unreliable. Go with Verizon.
I had mentioned the other day that Jupitermedia would shortly make a move into editorial coverage of mobile content.
This has happened. Our new blog Mobile Content Today launched under the editorial supervision of Susan Schrank. Susan has been writing about mobile devices and particularly the use of content on such devices for several years for the Online Report.
We are also launching a new trade show called Mobile Content Strategies. More on this show to follow.
Mobile Content Today is part of the growing family of Mediabistroblogs. I think Mobile Content Today will quickly become the center of editorial coverage of the fast growing field of the convergence of content and mobile devices. Same for our new tradeshow.
Another new property will be introduced shortly. It is a new tradeshow based on the Mediabistro brand. I will have more on this in a few days.
The New York Times today reported what has been known by many in the industry for several weeks to be true. Getty Images is for sale.
I had heard the rumor of Getty seeking a deal for several months. We were never offered the so-called "black book" outlining the possible sale, but I knew it was out there for "the right kind of buyer" (one with lots of cash). The signs were there for all to see -- particularly when CEO Jonathan Klein decided to move to New York City last summer. Of course in this day and age with instant connectivity I am not sure why anyone would need to move from Seattle in order to consummate a deal?
I saw this interesting post which puts the possible deal in perspective. I think the reasoning here is solid. While the Getty team might be bailing out, management at Jupiterimages remains confident that we have the best chance of the big three in the image industry to come out on top. We are the only company with the right mix in this difficult environment to hopefully create a solid business model for success. The key is understanding and executing in the subscription arena. RF Subscription models combined with strong Rights Managed and microstock offerings is the only way to survive in future years. Only Jupiterimages is doing well in all three of these segments.
I will have more to say on this topic if and when Getty Images is sold.
I just arrived in Tucson, Arizona for a visit today with our Tucson colleagues. Tucson is the hub for all things subscription for Jupiterimages.
Our David Needle wrote an interesting story yesterday about more Google initiatives in the mobile phone space. Clearly the next great use of the Internet will be on the mobile phone. David points out that ad revenues are expected to jump on mobile phones from a few billion this year to over $24 billion by 2013. One can see why Google likes this market!
We like the market as well. And in a few days we will announce an editorial and tradeshow thrust into the mobile phone arena. We find this very exciting. Stay tuned.
Writing a blog can be lonely and stressful. I read the other day that Om Malik suffered a heart attack. The attack in part was due to the stress caused by Om feeling he had to post all the time. Of course Om makes his living from his blog - I can understand the stress. My blog is just a small part of my job and I do not need to post several times a day (I sure would if this is all that I did for a living).
Regardless I have my own self-inflicted stress. Now that I have written over 600 posts, I feel I have to keep on writing. Based on page views a few thousand people read my posts daily. I presume that some readers like the fact that I write a few times per week?
Therefore it was nice to be recognized a few days ago by another blog, SearchMarketingGurus, that my blog was selected in the "corporate" category as one of the better blogs around.
Even without this honor I would continue posting. But recognition is only nice (and accepted).
One of the ways we are growing Jupiterimages is through licensing our vast wholly owned digital content library of images and music.
Recently Jupiterimages was selected as the image supplier to a new Tribune Company entity that supplies content for print and online niche magazines and related offerings.
More and more of these deals are in the works to go along with many deals completed in 2007. We are very excited to be working with the Tribune Company and its new Tribune Media Services division.
CNET management is fighting off losing control of managing the company to a group of investors by offering a "poison pill" stock offering. I am no expert on such strategies and to stave off losing control of a company. However I am somewhat amazed that no "white knight" buyer has emerged to try to buy CNET by offering a 20% premium or so to the current stock price of about $9.00 per share. I believe that CNET's board of directors would take such a deal providing it was the "right kind of company." Most likely a white knight offer would be a stock offer, but cash would work as well.
CNET has terrific assets. I have suggested that Yahoo should purchase CNET but other obvious suitors would be IAC and News Corp. Even the Washington Post or New York Times should consider such a purchase. Both of these organizations would make a big statement about their intentions in the Internet space. CNET's traffic and offerings combined with a big newspaper/media company could be very powerful.
Another suitor should be Time Warner/AOL. CNET combined with these assets would be powerful as well.
Jupiter Greetings has its biggest growth spurts around holidays. The Christmas-New Year holdiay period was no exception. We had a record December in adding new subscribers.
We continue to add embellishments to Jupiter Greetings as well as several news cards every week.
I flew into Madrid this morning for a week of travel to various Image offices. Things were great at the Madrid office! We had a strong end of 07 and we are upbeat for 2008.
The rest of the week takes me to Paris, Munich, Budapest, London and Braintree and back to New York City on Friday night. These trips are hard on the body but I enjoy them as I get to spend quality time with many of our colleagues. I get to feel the heartbeat of our business and to learn about any positives or negatives that might be happening in these offices.
I am also travelling with another Cormac McCarthy novel - The Crossing. This is the second of his "Border Trilogy". I had read All The Pretty Horses two weeks ago and now The Crossing. Next will be the last of the trilogy - Cities of the Plain.
While on the topic of entertainment, I would like to suggest a wonderful movie I saw on Sunday called Across The Universe. The movie revolves around Beatles music. This movie is a gem and knows no national boundaries.
Interesting news from Reuters that several investment funds have banded together to try to take control of the Board of Directors of CNET. According to the article the raiders own 21 percent of the common stock.
I had suggested a few weeks ago that Yahoo should buy CNET in a friendly deal.
CNET is now in play. Present management is a rocky position. CNET is run by former investment bankers. My experience over the years has shown me that investment bankers do not make good media executives. The investment group seeking CNET includes former top Ask.com executive Paul Gardi. I have no doubt that should the group be successful in taking over the Board, that the plan is to make Gardi CEO.
This will be a good one to watch.
Many readers know we bought Mediabistro. Mediabistro has many aspects. Mediabistro is a powerful vertical community for media professionals. Within this vertical niche revenue comes from banner ads, online education and most importantly a job board.
On Friday Monster.com bought Affinty Labs for $61 million. I am not an expert on Affinity Labs but Monster bought it because of its vertical community and related job boards.
Interestingly, WebProNews blogged about the Monster purchase and compared it to our purchase of Mediabistro last July. Wall Street might not appreciate our purchase, but WebProNews seems to think it was neat!
Readers may not associate Jupitermedia and Internet.com as being a hub for user generated content but in this holiday season, it is especially interesting to see how vibrant a community we have. This time of year, many people spend part of their holiday season setting up new computers, cell phones and other gadgets. Even though most of our readers are very savvy about computers, they are not shy about asking others for help when they encounter a new technology. That's one reason why our forum membership has grown to more than 1.8 million members.
One example of this activity is our Virtual DR forum. Throughout the day and night, you will find very knowledgable individuals sharing their expertise. It's one of those amazing aspects of the Internet that never fails to amaze.
Just wanted readers to know that I could not resist buying more of our stock on Monday - obviously the last trading day of the year. I am now precluded from buying stock as we approach reporting our fourth quarter and yearly results. My purchases do not guarantee that Jupitermedia's stock will rise or even that 2008 will be a good year for us financially. However, I do feel confident in our assets including our employee team and that the various initiatives and changes made in 2007 will be beneficial for the company.
We have some interesting news coming in the areas of:
1. Our new "Jupiter Super Store" now to be called "Jupiter Digital" or "JupiterD".
2. New services, packages and options from our microstock division - Stockxpert. This will set us apart from the competition.
4. Increasing emphasis on our Rights Managed image business at a time when Getty and Corbis are facing declines in this essential part of the worldwide image industry
5. Additional ways of packaging our JupiteImagesUnlimited subscription program which is having significant growth and has revolutionized our Royalty Free image business.
Stay tuned for more.