Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 4, 2013 04:55 PM
After filing for bankruptcy in November of last year, Kodak has re-emerged as a much smaller, business-to-business focused company that will provide commerical printing and digital imaging services. While a far cry from its years in consumer products, CEO Antonio Perez urges that the company is "working at the same intersection of materials science, digital imaging and precision technologies that it had been for decades prior to the bankruptcy."
After increasing competition from overseas companies and emerging digital technology essentially killed Kodak's business, the company sold off what it could, including its signature camera film division to its UK retirees who had a $2.8 billion debt owed on their pension plan. It sold its roughly half-billion dollar patent portfolio in return for $844 million in financing and reduced billions of dollars of debt by issuing stock at a severely reduced rate to creditors.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 2, 2013 03:25 PM
Newsweek has been dying a slow, painful death now for years, but a pair of thirty-something media magnates think they have what it takes to salvage the venerable brand.
Etienne Uzac, CEO of IBT Media, and his business partner, Jonathan Davis, “aspire to leadership of the digital media revolution,” according to CNN. The pair is already well on their way as the owners and co-founders of the International Business Times, among the top .02 percent of global URLs with an audience of over 7 million in the US and 13 million worldwide. IBT Media’s portfolio includes 10 international online news properties such as Medical Daily, Latin Times and iDigitalTimes and publishes in seven languages.
After being sold multiple times, the latest owners acquired Newsweek from Barry Diller's IAC in early August, after a failed merger between The Daily Beast and the once-venerable weekly news magazine saw just about every last supporter abandon the brand.
Even though Diller called his acquisition of Newsweek a "mistake" in a recent interview with Bloomberg, Uzac sees potential beyond the US to grow the Newsweek brand internationally. "We plan on deepening the current relationships and potentially adding more global partners," he told Ad Age.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 28, 2013 06:06 PM
When the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first hit American TV screens with “Day of the Dumpster” 20 years ago today, no one would have expected over 4 million faithful viewers to be tuned-in by the end of its first season—a number that ballooned to 6.9 million by the end of season two.
But fans loved it. The mash-up of Japanese-inspired action and US-produced drama—not to mention brightly-colored spandex—created a pop-culture phenomenon, one that many major networks at the time chose to turn away from. In fact, Fox was the only network that took a chance on the new series, which has arguably had its share of ups and downs over the nearly 800 episodes that have aired.
Still, the kids series created merchandise heaven for retailers, amounting to nearly $1 billion by 1995. The brand was eventually bought up by Disney, where it languished, cycling through themes that included Power Rangers as space cadets, ninjas and race car drivers—all of which ate away at the original brand's success. In 2010, the original owner, Saban Brands, bought it back from Disney with a mission to revive the characters and series.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 23, 2013 02:52 PM
Perhaps we should have seen it coming when Yahoo's Marissa Mayer covered the September issue of Vogue. Mayer is busy dusting off her aging internet company and is creating quite the image for herself in the process. One thing she's made clear: her Yahoo will be nothing like what existed—and failed—before.
Multiple sources close to the company report that Mayer has been busy securing a deal with longtime news personality and talk show host Katie Couric for an exclusive web interview show that would like on Yahoo's homepage, while others have said that Mayer is in preliminary talks with Conde Nast to feature some of Vogue's content on the site.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on August 21, 2013 03:38 PM
All things considered, turnaround specialist Hubert Joly has something to celebrate on his first anniversary at the helm of Best Buy. The electronics retailer was "all but given up for dead a year ago—when it was fighting against shrinking revenues, bad publicity, and crushing competition from industry rival Amazon..."
But on August 20, Best Buy reported gross margins of 26.5 percent, beating estimates, as its stock price gained 10 percent. Best Buy's profit for the quarter ending August 3 was $266 million compared to $12 million for the same period one year ago. Still, CEO Joly "is simply better managing the decline. Same-store sales fell by 0.6 percent, and overall revenue was down 0.4 percent," comments Bloomberg.
Nevertheless, Joly can take some satisfaction from his efforts in righting a sinking ship. One move that has surely helped: In March, Best Buy instituted a no holds barred "Low Price Guarantee" to blunt the negative impact of "showrooming"—when consumers visit the chain's stores to look at products, only to then leave and purchase the items online. The Guarantee offers to match a price from any local retail competitor's store, as well as from a designated list of online retailers, which includes Amazon.com, Apple.com, Sears.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com. It's likely that the Guarantee contributed to a 10.5 percent increase in online sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 16, 2013 10:36 AM
Besides giving blood and waiting at the DMV, few things make human beings feel more like a commodity than renting a car. Brands have tried for years to differentiate themselves, but the car-rental experience pretty much boils down to the same dehumanizing process at every counter at every airport—until now.
Hertz—one of the guilty parties in the soporific sameness of its industry—has launched a global push behind making car rental a truly different kind of experience and is marketing the effort as "Road Trip by Hertz."
Hertz is dramatically overhauling some of its retail locations to offer concierge-style service, iPad stations for researching local information while recharging devices, games for kids, as well as printers and FedEx service, according to Marketing Daily. What's more, Hertz is making a variety of retail goods available on site, ranging from charging cords to beach bags.Continue reading...
Posted by Adeline Chong on August 14, 2013 04:49 PM
Just like the beloved snack cake Twinkies was rescued from the depths of its owner's bankruptcy, Borders, a longtime staple among US retail bookstores, is getting a new chance at life thanks to a few global bookstore lovers that snatched up trademarks and intellectual property rights at auction after the brand went bust in 2011.
When it was announced recently that Borders would resurface in Singapore before the year's end, book lovers and sellers alike greeted the news with cautious optimism. After all, Borders Singapore—which had operated under the independent Borders Asia Pacific—quickly became one of Singapore's most iconic and loved bookstores when it opened in 1997—even emerging as the group's best performing outlet in 2006—but it quickly met its demise in September 2011 after its owner, Australia's Redgroup Retail, fell to a similar fate as its US counterpart.
In Singapore, the store's demise then seemed inevitable, bankruptcy or not, as loyal customers became disgruntled at the deep discounts offered to non-members and customers at large were baffled by the store's poor book selection and foray into non-book items like toys and cookware. The frequent sales also created a discount mentality amongst customers, eating into margins. Globally, the group's late foray into e-books and its big push into sunset product categories such as music CDs were also cited for its demise.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 6, 2013 05:32 PM
Indian brand motorcycles were the first to be manufactured in the US, making their debut in 1901. The brand has all but disappeared since its heyday during the First and Second World Wars, however Polaris, which bought the brand in 2011 and also manufactures snowmobiles, ATVs and the Victory line of motorcycles, is releasing a new line of Indians.
Polaris took its new bikes—the $18,999 Chief Classic, the $20,999 Chief Vintage, and the $22,999 Indian Chieftain—on a mini-tour of Manhattan this week, garnering plenty of 'oohs' and 'aahs' from onlookers. But the real test will be whether the original American moto-brand will be able to reclaim marketshare from top competitors.Continue reading...