September 24, 2004 - Economic Round-Up - Top 300 Magazines - Speaking of Advertising… - Bits and Bytes - Magazine Market Changes - Road Warrior - Dr. Joe to Speak at Free Graph Expo Event Sponsored by MAN Roland - - - Ask Dr. Joe a Question Dr. Joe's Bio Yes, Dr. Joe Has a Store Dr. Joe's web site Economic Round-Up There’s not much to write about this week on the economic front. We’re still chugging along in a growing, restructuring economy that has terrorism concerns and presidential politics hanging over it. The presidential uncertainty will go away on November 3, we hope, unless the electoral votes get split and we end up in the House of Representatives. That’s not such a crazy idea, as many key states are hovering in pollster statistical error. There’s only one poll that counts, and a lot can happen in the meantime. But we do have businesses to run, and much of the political meanderings are best viewed as entertainment in the meantime. Housing is still running strong. Hurricanes will disrupt employment reporting and—especially—consumer confidence. How confident can one really be in a survey when your neighbor’s roof is in your yard and a tree is lying on your car’s roof? So beware of these kinds of measures. Alan Greenspan raised rates again, as planned, and this is probably the last for a while. The Fed now has enough room to move interest rates down if the economy needs liquidity (lest we forget how well the economy fared after 9/11 because of the Fed’s action when it could have tanked significantly; no one gets credit for what they didn’t allow to happen, and they should in this case). The key paragraph in the Fed’s statement said “…the stance of monetary policy remains accommodative and, coupled with robust underlying growth in productivity, is providing ongoing support to economic activity… output growth appears to have regained some traction, and labor market conditions have improved modestly…inflation and inflation expectations have eased in recent months.” That’s about as excited as the Fed ever gets about a strong economy. Strangely enough, the rate increase caused long-term bond rates to go down. Pick your reason: the Fed is increasing too much and will kill growth; there is so much liquidity from increasing corporate and proprietor profits and growing disposable income that there is less demand for long term borrowing; or the inflation dragon is, for all practical purposes, dead. Better yet, say all three things each to a different person, and in six months, one of the three will think you’re a genius. On the Web If you’re an economics junkie (and how couldn’t you be?), the Dallas Federal Reserve has a superb overview of the economy that gets updated every Tuesday. On the Web We've had seven quarters of increased household wealth. This was barely reported in the news. On the Web The Chicago Federal Reserve issued a report about the nature of jobs that the economy is creating. More good news—also little-reported. On the Web Free-market economist Larry Kudlow explains how a Fed increase can make market interest rates decrease: On the Web Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Top 300 Magazines Advertising Age recently issued its report on the top 300 titles in the U.S. magazine business. Revenue from the top 300 U.S. magazines was up 5.9% compared to 2003. People, Sports Illustrated and Time, all Time-Warner properties, were the top three publications, with $1.24 billion, $936.2 million and $920.8 million in gross revenue, respectively. Overall, ad revenue was up 7.6% and circulation was up 0.9%. On the Web: Read the article (free, but log-in required) Download the report (free, but log-in required) Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Speaking of Advertising… Internet advertising revenues ( U.S.) for the first six months of 2004 were approximately $4.6 billion—a stunning 39.7% increase over the first half of 2003. The IAB president said, "Internet advertising is without question taking share from the other media at this time and for good reason—marketers have figured out that online advertising is often the most cost effective medium for influencing both branding and sales results. This data is fueled by recent public announcements that online ad budgets are dramatically increasing; for instance approximately 25% is going online for Ford's Lincoln Mercury and approximately 50% for Vonage." Sure the Ford thing is interesting, but the Vonage thing doesn’t really count. We should be surprised that they are not 100% Internet. The company sells VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) for home and business telephone, and is doing quite well. They have had to move their products to retailers and are using heavy broadcast and some print promotion in their mix. In order to use the Vonage product, you need broadband service. So if broadband users are the heaviest Internet users, then, why do you need to reach them with non-Internet media? (We’ve discussed why in past columns.) And that reminds me of something else. New companies starting from scratch do not have legacy customer relationships that require them to still use traditional media as they did in the past when those relationships were created. Essentially, those customers are used to seeing you in certain places, and to change the media used to “touch” them might be considered as ignoring them. Basically, new businesses start with a clean slate, where having no relationships means that they can spend dollars on proportionately more new media and e-commerce promotion than those with legacy relationships. I haven’t seen any studies on this, but it would be interesting to see if it’s done that way. The cumulative impact could be significant, considering the number of new business that are starting up these days. On the Web Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bits and Bytes Who says there are no quality printers any more? Don’t tell that to the Bulgarian printers! On the Web “Marketing Sherpa” had a very good download recently about common mistakes in B2B e-commerce. On the Web Fast Company magazine had a very interesting article about Apple Computer and the lessons their experience teaches about innovation. On the Web Mike Chiricuzio had an excellent article in WTT’s sister publication about leading your business through changing times. On the Web In case you didn’t know, praise improves productivity. On the Web Thoroughly silly is Starbuck’s television ad based on the music from the Rocky movies’ “Eye of the Tiger.” The ad is for their canned coffee drink. The Windows Media file can take a while to load, so be patient. On the Web Two New Jersey schools are using e-books On the Web Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Road Warrior Last week I mentioned how our family is abandoning AOL (or more accurately, they abandoned us). We have broadband already, and I have switched to using e-mail using the carrier’s servers. I decided not to use Microsoft Outlook because it’s under constant attack, and instead chose Eudora. I had used it many years ago, and the new version has not disappointed. A free “lite” version can be had at When you upgrade to paid versions, you get a lot more control and features, especially in the way you can manage spam. I am shocked at how good Eudora’s spam detection is. It only took a day’s use to get the settings to where I wanted, and it has only grabbed three e-mails it shouldn’t have. My son (the 14-year old computer geek) and Mrs. W (the most patient woman in Harrisville, RI) decided to go the G-Mail route. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s Google’s free e-mail service. Privacy wackos expressed concern a few months ago about the its use of context-based ads from which Google derives its revenue. The ads, similar to what you see when you do a Google search, are on the right of the screen and are essentially out of view. The interface is easy, loads fast, and is not cluttered, unlike the Yahoo or Excite free e-mail services. Google offers 1 GB of space. It’s moderately intuitive. They are scaling up the service slowly, and you need an invite from another user to get an account. If you’re interested, e-mail me through the “Ask Dr. Joe” link and I’ll have the information sent to you. It’s still considered a beta, but that’s because they are still adding features. One of the things I was dreading in the process of switching was updating all of the e-mail addresses for my shopping, on-line newsletters, and news alerts. That didn’t go as badly as I thought; that is, except for the newsletters run by print media publishers. Retailers like and others were easy and quick. On-line only publications and alerts were generally easy. There were a couple that required unsubscribing and then subscribing as if I were new. The print publications were quite different. Their update pages were very confusing. For the worst one, from whom I get five different newsletters, I kept clicking the wrong button. Why? The correct button was all the way out to the right, off my screen, requiring that I move my horizontal scroll bar, which I did only by accident. Overall, the process was much easier than I thought it would be, despite the few headaches. In fact, it was a much easier time than I have had getting removed from some hard copy mailing and trade magazine lists. I still get mailings from one of the trade associations despite having requested by mail two years to be removed from their lists (and I know “the right people,” too!). I still get some industry magazines that I asked to stop receiving. Very strange. It costs more to mail hard copy to a recipient who doesn’t want it, yet the e-mail services for whom each additional recipient costs virtually nothing have the removal process under excellent control. Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Joe to Speak at Free Graph Expo Event Sponsored by MAN Roland I have the pleasure of once again speaking at a free Graph Expo event sponsored by MAN Roland. The one hour event is entitled “Revolutionizing the Printing Industry”. It will offer printing and publishing executives direction and insights relative to the emerging economic, human and technology issues in today's challenging business environment. (And, most important to show attendees, free coffee). Topics will include: Is the print business turning around? And in what ways? New concerns that face executives, owners, and the industry The executive “to-do” list, designed to help break away from long-held myths and assumptions and look at the business in a new, creative way To sign up, visit Back to top -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Upcoming Economic Webinar The next Dr. Joe/WhatTheyThink economic webinar will be held on Wednesday, September 29th, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT. To sign up, click here. Among the topics I’ll be discussing are: Economic Update The new printing forecast-- is the turnaround real? Why is this different from all the other turnarounds? Capital equipment outlook going into Graph Expo Is there a topic or industry you’d like to have me address? Please send me an e-mail, and we’ll consider it for inclusion. If your topic is selected, I’ll e-mail you a free PDF of “Dr. Joe’s Almanac.” To access the sound and presentation files of the June 23rd webinar, go here --------------------------------------------------------------------------------