Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Comscore Competition - "We Don't Have Any"


ComScore is a company that uses panels to measure and track consumer behaviors, demographics, and advertising responsiveness for industries such as travel, pharmaceuticals, finance, and telecommunications. Consumer products companies use ComScore's website and online advertising network measurement tools and ComScore's Marketing Solutions products, which provide custom research and analysis from its panel. Scam or is this accurate information?  

Today, on the earnings conference call Comscore management said "we have no competition".  This answer was prompted after an analyst ask the following question: "how are your viewing the market competition?"   Excuse me, but what about these web site analytics companies who more accurately measure?  Alexa, Nielsen, Google Analytics, Omniture, HitwiseQuantcast that provide more accurate information?  What about this list of mobile analytics companies? Airsage, Amethon, Bango Flurry, GroundTruth, Localytics, Mobilytics, Motally, M-Wise, Openwave, Percent Mobile, Pinchmedia, TigTags, Xtract. How could you not consider these companies as competitors? If there are any other companies I am missing please let me know.

There are several mobile phone analytics and social media analytics companies and many of them are more accurate. Management also gave a very "wishy washing" answer to how they measure and manage social media and mobile analytics.  How can you trust a public company that says we have no competition?  How can you trust the data that so many large companies use but have limited reach to measure its traffic?  Taking surveys and panels is not an ethical way to measure and track traffic.  In fact its one of the largest digital media scams in the last decade.   Someone needs to crack this egg and expose this. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Will Pandora's $100M IPO & Users Kill iTunes?


How Much Is Pandora Cannibalizing iTunes Sales?
I am happy to hear that Pandora announced a $100M IPO today after being rejected by hundreds of VCs who "pooh poohed" their "advertising based" business model many years ago.  Fast forward a few years after Pandora's struggling years and almost shut down.  Pandora currently has 80M users and is raising $100M in an IPO.  This is not good news for music artists who get paid for music downloads and are quickly seeing this business dry up according to inside sources.  What will an artist like Lady Gaga do?  Up her licensing fees or partner with Pandora on a revenue share for advertising fees?

I come from the school that "if its free its me and if I have to pay no way".  I am not a great customer of Apple iTunes because I could care less about owning the music.  I just want to listen to it when I want.  Since I have been a listener to Pandora guess how much music I have purchased?  $0.  Their really is no reason to own music for consumer to want to own music or videos any longer now that advertising based streaming music services like Pandora have arrived.   I always thought the best move for Apple would be to buy Pandora to protect their iTunes music sales but it looks like that is not going to happen.

I predicted that Howard Stern would go to Pandora but that did not happen and he stayed with Sirius / XM and now you can listen to Howard on the iPhone.  I also thought that Apple will buy Pandora but that didn't happen either yet.  Here is a comparison of Rhapsody vs Pandora.  Sirius is also a  Pandora competitor but they need to get an app for the TV quickly.  Broadband speeds have doubled and even tripled over the past few years.  WiFi is very fast and reliable in most areas and 3G is maturing.  So maybe Pandora video is coming also with LTE and 4G wireless distribution?  Stay tuned and buy some shares of this disruptive company.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

US Diplomacy Needs To Be More Transparent

The Egypt crises has certainly caused some confusion amongst financial community, media pundits, political conservatives and liberals.  No one seems to know which side of the table to be on and who to support in the crisis.  Wall Street and emerging markets responded to the protest by dropping a few percent immediately and volatility spiked but for what reason?  What interests is the US trying to protect in Egypt and who do we trust? One important lesson from this power struggle crisis seems to be emerging and that is the "lack of transparency" in US foreign policy and support for Egypt.  I don't expect a full disclosure Wikileaks style, but when I hear that Hosni Murbarak is sheltering billions and worth multiple billions of dollars it makes me sick. The US Government seems to be giving a billion dollars a year to whom?  Egypt or Mubarak?  How does it get spent if at all and who receives the check?  How many other countries around the world do we support like this financially?  I would love to see an in-dept study of this because hedge funds who invest around the World will be all over this issue to find the next "smoking gun".   If anyone comes up with a InfoGraph to tell the story of US financial diplomacy please send it to me. 

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