Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Naspers soars 30%

Print circulations in South Africa and China held up, but advertising revenues were stagnant.

SHOOT: They're fortunate to be involved in Developing Markets. How has AVUSA done by comparison? Go here: http://www.nickvanderleek.com/2009/06/avusa-expands-revenue-bby-6-12-said-to.html

Naspers reports revenues up 30% to R26,7 billion for the past financial year.

In a SENS statement, the publisher reports operating profit before amortisation and gains/losses advanced 21% to R5,1 billion, whilst core headline earnings grew 9% to R4,4 billion.

The report states that overall, the group's growth was satisfactory with emerging markets at the centre of their strategy.

They also report that recent internet acquisitions - Allegro, Ricardo and Gadu-Gadu - performed steadily while associates, Tencent in China and mail.ru in Russia, expanded.

Naspers reports revenue growth of 30% in the aggregate was recorded over the period. Drivers were both existing operations, which accounted for 19%, and new acquisitions, which added 11%. The internet segment was boosted by the inclusion of Allegro and Ricardo (formerly Tradus). Pay-TV revenues increased by 29% as a result of its gross subscriber growth of 683 000 households.

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AVUSA expands revenue by 6%, 12% said to be 'gettable'

Traditional media is suffering as classifieds - a cash cow staple - moves online. Cinema is also in the doldrums in South Africa.

TheTimes.co.za: BDFM, comprising Business Day and the Financial Mail, incurred a loss of R9-million against last year’s R7-million profit, mainly due to development costs, whereas losses at The Times are narrowing.

Digital businesses now contribute 23% of earnings before interest and tax, calming sceptics who have accused the company of failing to enter that arena.

Khulekani Dlamini believes Avusa should realise margins of at least 12% or higher, given some of the brands in its stable.

SHOOT: AVUSA has to import its oil-based ink, and machinery spares - these costs are likely to remain high. Naspers achieved 29% revenue growth. Caxton releases its results in August.

Good news from the PwC report: from 2009 to 2010, compound annual growth in entertainment and media is expected to grow 8.7%.
clipped from www.thetimes.co.za

Heavy costs and fewer adverts are bad news, writes Adele Shevel.

The global winners in media over the next five years will be Internet advertising, video games, TV subscriptions and licence fees, and filmed entertainment.

The losers will be business-to-business publications, newspapers and consumer magazines.

The report predicts spending in the global entertainment and media market will be only 0.2% higher in 2011 than in 2008. Global advertising is forecast to decrease 12.1% this year followed by a further 2.7% decline next year, and is expected to be 13.3% lower in 2011 than in 2008.

These figures will be particularly alarming for print media. The three big listed print players in SA are Naspers, Avusa and Caxton. (The Independent News & Media Group South Africa is unlisted).

Avusa’s results — which CEO Prakash Desai called “credible” in light of the current economic conditions — came out on Thursday.

Avusa’s media unit posted a revenue gain of 6% in spite of the tough economy.
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Daimler 'wakes up' - produces green merc that remains one of the biggest polluters on the road

SHOOT: This is about as ludicrous as someone who goes from smoking cigars to smoking cigarettes. It's still smoking - there's no fundamental change here, no progression. Dumb.
clipped from www.news24.com
Frankfurt - German luxury car maker Daimler launched its first hybrid model last week, almost 10 years after the market leader, Toyota.
The world's best-selling limousine, a favourite of world leaders, the Mercedes Benz S Class, is now available in Europe with two motors, one electric and the other petrol (gasoline), to save fuel and cut pollution.
The "CO2 champion of luxury cars", as Mercedes bills it, nonetheless cranks out 186 to 189 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, remaining one of the biggest polluters on the road, well above the European average of around 160 grams.
Auto expert Gerd Lottspiesen from the environmental association VCD told AFP that the German car industry "has been asleep for several years".
"It repeatedly dismissed hybrids. If it is finally waking up, it's pretty late" compared with Toyota, which sold its first hybrid Prius model in Europe nine years ago.
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50 Greatest Trailers of All Time

SHOOT: Great to see ALIEN at number 1. Blair Witch project is the scariest horror movie I've ever seen. CLOVERFIELD also has a great intro. I see WATCHMEN is at number 46, The Matrix at 32. Now where is the trailer for The Dark Knight?
clipped from www.ifc.com

We know them as trailers, but they don't trail anything; they play before the movie, not after it. The name dates to their earliest incarnation, when they actually did follow the feature. The documentary "Coming Attractions" dates the very first trailer to a 1912 Edison serial entitled "What Happened to Mary?" After each installment, a black card with white text would appear to inform audiences "The next incident in the series of 'What Happened to Mary' will be shown a week from now." Not exactly "In a world..." but it did the trick back in 1912.

1. Alien (1979)

2. Psycho (1960)

clipped from www.ifc.com
clipped from www.ifc.com

11. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

12. Independence Day (1996)

15. Pulp Fiction (1994)

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Ka-Ching - makes perfect cents

SHOOT: heard this on the radio this morning:

We live in a greedy little world--
That teaches every little boy and girl
To earn as much as they can possibly--
Then turn around and
Spend it foolishly
Weve created us a credit card mess
We spend the money we dont possess
Our religion is to go and blow it all
So its shoppin every sunday at the mall

All we ever want is more
A lot more than we had before
So take me to the nearest store

Can you hear it ring
It makes you wanna sing
Its such a beautiful thing--ka-ching!
Lots of diamond rings
The happiness it brings
Youll live like a king
With lots of money and things

When youre broke go and get a loan
Take out another mortgage on your home
Consolidate so you can afford
To go and spend some more when
You get bored

All we ever want is more
A lot more than we had before
So take me to the nearest store

[repeat chorus]

Lets swing
Dig deeper in your pocket
Oh, yeah, ha
Come on I know youve got it
Dig deeper in your wallet

All we ever want is more
A lot more than we had before
So take me to the nearest store

[repeat chorus]

Can you hear it ring
It makes you wanna sing
Youll live like a king
With lots of money and things

What do you mean – ‘beauty is truth’?

Well, they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is truth. While beauty can be quite subjective, truth often is too. I mean, whose beauty? Whose truth? Most of us do after all, know the truth, and can recognise beauty once we get past our egos. When we're really called upon to open eyes, then it is easy to see the truth. The truth can be brutal and beautiful, like the deadly mountain massif in Nepal known as Annapurna.

The truth, like death, can seem bleak and unsentimental, but like death, certain and definite and powerful. Truth is vested with an existential fatalism. It is the way things are. Truth is relative, but absolute truth is absolute.

Beauty is truth when we can see and love (and understand) the inner workings behind the natural façade of things. When we see something the way it is, and accept it as perfect in and of itself, we begin to see the enormous beauty of the universe. We begin to see and love the obvious - the beauty of sunshine on water.

Do we get the truth in the newspaper, on television, at the movies? Far from it. Yet sometimes, in our fictions, in our fantasies, are kernels of wisdom. 2008's The Dark Knight probed deeply into the inner sanctums of our unstated zeitgeist. Michael Jackson's demise informs us of our magical, but self destructive and delusional (out of touch with reality) celebrity culture.

SHOOT aims to step onto that holy ground where reporters fear to tread. Often the information isn't pleasant, because it carries with it grim implications. God doesn't exist (not a personal one anyway), there is no life after death (other than through our children), and our beautiful planet is beginning to declare war on the cancer infesting it - us.

Can be become benign creatures, and give ourselves over to mutalism? Can we find a higher truth by which to live, and let others live by? This is a test we now face. Our ability to see the truth and be truthful will help us to achieve this. If we continue lying to ourselves and decieving others, we will fail.

There is also truth in beauty. When truth is beauty and beauty truth, we graduate tio a frame of mind where everything has beauty, and we come to see everything, and our selves, for what it is. The dust of stars, the fabric of the universe, all connected, all with a purpose in the clockwork of the cosmos. SHOOT aims to elevate our thinking, our consciousness so that we may see the stars through the pollution and dust, that is our own creation. Simply being able to see the beauty in things – all things, even ourselves - is a wonderful truth worth pursuing, wouldn’t you say?

Michael Jackson’s life is a modern day tragedy

It was ugly. It felt dirty. We were learning, along the way, about the treacherous nature of celebrity in our modern age. He embodied the vice and helped it morph into an epidemic.

even with all the charges of molestation, Michael Jackson always somehow seemed harmless. He seemed like someone who needed our protection. And this much was true: He needed our love and approval. He lived for it, and the only place he ever got it was on stage.

We reported weeks ago that the Michael Jackson 50-city tour was an impossibility, a dream destination where the singer might once again find what always eluded him in the world.

He never found it. That is a tragedy.

SHOOT: In the present culture of celebrity, we destroy what we love.
clipped from www.thewrap.com

A star at 11, a teen idol as an adolescent and the King of Pop before he hit 30, Jackson spent what should have been the best years of his life confused, hounded and haunted, an Alice in Wonderland creature in a world of pop culture that he helped to create.

We all must mourn twice today. First, the loss of a great musical and stage talent. But that person disappeared long ago.

Second, we mourn the arc of a life that should have been filled with the blessings of success as defined in our world: money, talent, fame and celebrity. But instead it descended into a hellish purgatory on earth -- damned by public opinion and tortured by demons only he understood.

It was a life left in ruins. His death is a shock, and we can only expect the unexpected in the coroner’s report.

But it is not nearly as shocking as the events that led to an untimely demise we might have expected even sooner. 

And we see him creating the fantasy childhood world at Neverland, where he entertained children dying of cancer.

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Michael Jackson: The shows not over [Rehearsal footage said to be spectacular]

On Monday (June 29), USA Today pulled back the curtain on the closely guarded rehearsals, describing an over-the-top Jackson extravaganza that was to feature floating orbs, a flaming bed, lots of pyrotechnics, 20-foot-tall puppets, giant spiders and Jackson breaking out all his signature dance moves.

"He was trying, and succeeding, in structuring the biggest, most spectacular live production ever seen," said Johnny Caswell, co-owner of CenterStaging in Burbank, California, where Jackson worked on the show from late March to early June before shifting rehearsals to larger venues, according to the paper.

SHOOT: Good that we at least get to see some of Michael's hard work in preparation for the performance that would never be.
clipped from www.mtv.com
Michael Jackson at rehearsals for his
Following Michael Jackson's death on Thursday, 750,000 people who bought tickets to see him perform at the O2 in London will never get the chance to experience the stunning visual and musical spectacle the singer had in store for them. But, according to reports, AEG Live, the promoter of the "This Is It" 50-date residency, recorded enough of Jackson's rehearsal material to release at least one live CD/DVD.

The Wrap reported that Jackson had failed to appear at "many" of the scheduled rehearsals over the past two months, but he did appear at the full run-through on Wednesday in anticipation of the July 13 kick-off of the London shows. The final rehearsal reportedly included dancers, musicians and aerial performers, as well as Jackson suspended from a crane at one point and a 3-D view of a "Thriller"-inspired haunted mansion.

"It was an amazing show," Alonzo said. "The thing was just days away from being perfected. It was incredible
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Iraqi Oil Minister says: "Bid again, you're giving us too much money for our oil"

Under the service contracts, the companies would be paid a per barrel fee for any crude they produce in excess of a minimum production target.

Both groups were asked to revise their bids, said Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani, because they were asking for more money per barrel than the government wanted.

No bids were offered on the second field on offer, Mansouri.

The field, located in the restive Diyala province, is an undeveloped gas field estimated to hold 3.3 trillion cubic feet of reserves with production potential of 330 million cubic feet a day. That province has weathered some of Iraq's worst violence.

SHOOT: Crazy ain't it. The USA invades the country, 'liberates it', then China, flush with US treasury bills (they haven't blown trillions on a war halfway around the world), and buys the reserves. Thanks very much USA. Next step: USA invades China and its [the US'] hegemony is finally broken. Bad strategy, but what would you expect from a bunch of evangelicals in the White House. Well, until now. Obama needs to build wind farms and re-engineer the transport psychology there. Trains, not highways. Sun and wind energy, not coal and oil. Good luck.
clipped from news.yahoo.com
Iraqis take control as US troops leave cities

BAGHDAD – Iraq opened up some of its massive oil and gas fields to foreign firms on Tuesday, kicking off a landmark licensing round it hopes will help fuel its postwar reconstruction efforts.

In a televised ceremony, international oil companies were invited to submit bids for six oil and two gas fields, a process that marked their return to the country over 30 years after Saddam Hussein nationalized the oil sector and expelled the foreign firms.

The fields on offer hold about 43 billion of Iraq's 115 billion barrels of crude reserves — among the largest in the world.

The process seemed to run into difficulties for the first two fields on offer.

Two consortiums submitted offers for the Rumaila oil field, which holds 17.8 billion barrels in crude reserves. British giant BP PLC and China's CNPC made up the first consortium while U.S. giant Exxon Mobil and Malaysia's Petronas comprised the second.

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Mines plead poverty, ignorance - toxic mine water about to decant into Vaal and Orange River

In the past, pumps kept gold mines outside Johannesburg largely free of water because most water was pumped to the surface, partially treated and released into rivers. Now many of the gold mines have closed or can no longer afford to keep pumping, and vast underground areas are filling up.

Department of Water and Environmental Affairs spokesman Linda Page said: “They (the three companies ) have been given 90 days to stop discharging into the Tweelopie Spruit. Failure to do so will result in further action from the department.”

SHOOT: This is more serious than swine flu and the economy. Having your drinking water polluted is an immediate and urgent public health threat.
clipped from www.thetimes.co.za
Dubious warning: A Rand Uranium water-purifying station in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg. Uranium levels in the area have reached an all-time high. Picture: Kevin Sutherland

A river of acid water — enough to fill 600 swimming pools a day — has flooded old gold mines west of Johannesburg and is just days away from spilling over, causing an environmental disaster.

Long-term exposure to the poisoned water poses major health risks, including increased rates of cancer, skin lesions and retarded brain development.

An overflow of toxic mine water in the past led to radioactive contamination of Robinson Lake — a fishing and picnic area that has now become lifeless — outside Randfontein on the West Rand.

Acidic water is also dissolving huge areas of underground rock, threatening the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site.

If left unchecked, this water could also decant and contaminate water that ultimately flows into the Orange River.

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Hookers 0, Pharaohs 1? Hotel video evidence vindicates Pharaohs

Sowetan: Media reports alleged that five Egyptian players who were robbed of R19377 at Protea Hotel Wanderers in Johannesburg might have been robbed by prostitutes who were allegedly invited to their hotel rooms to celebrate the team’s win against world champions Italy.

SHOOT: So now they're saying there were no hookers? And no hotel staff took the money. And it's all on camera, except there's nothing suspicious. Except that R20 000 is no longer there. Intwisting.
clipped from www.sowetan.co.za
INVESTIGATIONS into allegations that sex workers were responsible for the disappearance of money from Egyptian soccer players’ rooms have finally been completed.

Yesterday the South African Police Service held a press conference in Pretoria to clear the air on what actually happened on the night of June 18.

  • Obtaining 28 affidavits from the complainants and possible witnesses;
  • Checking premises for fingerprints;
  • Checking of access to the hotel rooms in absence of the Egyptian team;
  • The checking of hotel rooms safes which are electronically monitored; and
  • Viewing of CCTV footage in hotel reception area and the vicinity of the rooms of the players.
  • “We can confirm that no suspect has been identified and hotel staff have all been cleared,” said police spokesperson Director Sally De Beer.

    She said the footage showed that there was no evidence of alcohol usage.

    The report is still going to be presented to the director of public prosecutions who will then make a decision on the case.

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    We can't export our way out of trouble as the Depression Economics reverses Globalisation

    “The rand is overvalued by about a third. We see it at R10,25 at the year-end, and fair value at R12/ in the longer term.” - Peter Attard Montalto, Nomura, London

    In Nomura’s opinion SA can only sustain a current account deficit of 3,5% of gross domestic product (GDP), versus 7% in the first quarter of this year.

    It also takes into account the likely negative effect of the country’s growing budget deficit, which Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says is set to exceed its original estimate of 3,8% of GDP this year.

    For the rand bears, a weak currency is not a bad thing — it will boost demand for local exports when the global economy picks up momentum later this year.

    SHOOT: Any country hoping to export its way out of tropuble is mistaken. We've gone into globalisation-in-reverse. It's a permanent shift. Local production, hyperlocal living is going to become the order of the day as we shift to De[ression-era economics.

    THE rand surged to a near 10-month peak at R7,87/ yesterday, in a move which may prove to be a double-edged sword for SA’s faltering economy.

    The unit’s gains of about 20% against the dollar and the euro in the year to date is bad news for the embattled manufacturing sector, as it makes exports less competitive.

    But its appreciation will also help ease inflation pressures, which means interest rates may fall again or at least remain lower for longer, helping to revive growth in the economy later this year.

    Standard Chartered sees the rand strengthening to a robust R7,60/ during the final quarter of this year, based on expectations that emerging market assets will be firmly back in vogue by then.

    But the Bank’s unexpected decision to keep its repo rate steady at 7,5% last week is one of the main reasons why the unit has outperformed its emerging market peers in the past two days.

    In that context a strong currency doesn’t help, but it will help bring about lower inflation.
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    Oil hits $73 again

    SHOOT: This is due to dollar weakness rather than fundamental demand or supply changes. Right now the Rand is at R7.79 to the dollar.
    clipped from news.yahoo.com
    Iraq oil bidding process delayed by one day

    SINGAPORE – Oil prices jumped above $73 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as a weakening U.S. dollar and attacks on oil installations in Nigeria helped push prices to eight-month highs.

    Benchmark crude for August delivery was up $1.05 to $72.54 a barrel by late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after trading as high as $73.38. On Monday, it gained $2.33 to settle at $71.49.

    Oil has surged from below $35 in March in part on investor concern that massive U.S. fiscal stimulus spending will eventually spark high inflation. Investors often buy commodities such as crude as a hedge against a weakening dollar and inflation.

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    Chart of US citizens using social media

    SHOOT: In the future it is likely to be 100% correlated, or everyone online will be using social media.
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    Jackson's Parents start bickering over will as Janet is made executor

    WENN: The Thriller hitmaker’s parents, Joe and Katherine, are reportedly unaware of what Branca believes is Jackson’s most up-to-date will - in a petition filed in a Los Angeles court on Monday (29Jun09), they stated the singer died "intestate", meaning without a will.

    They are asking a judge put Katherine in charge and name her administrator of the division of Jackson’s assets.

    SHOOT: The impression is that Jackson's parents, and possibly even the rest of his family (the siblings), are more into money than they ever were into Michael. And that sort of isolation is a recipe for crawling into one's own fantasy world to escape the unpleasant predations and motvations of one's own family.
    clipped from www.sowetan.co.za
    Michael Jackson amended his last will and testament just weeks before his sudden death, according to online reports.

    The pop superstar died on Thursday (25Jun09), leaving behind a complicated mess of his finances.

    The King of Pop left an enormous musical legacy and a back catalogue worth millions - but he also had huge debts, estimated at $500 million (£300 million), as a result of his legendary and unrestrained spending sprees.

    His sister Janet Jackson has been made executor of his estate, but TMZ.com claims another will exists that has yet to be filed in court.

    The website reports Jackson rehired lawyer John Branca three weeks prior to his death, and revised his final wishes in the event of a tragedy. Branca intends to file the latest will in court within the next 30 days.

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    Dispatch moving from single deadline news cycle to a rolling 24/7 news culture

    SHOOT: Interesting to see the first coverage of a murder trial live on twitter from within the court.

    TRENCH: We are working hard to try and change our newsroom culture from a single deadline news cycle as our traditional print offering operates, to a rolling 24/7 news culture where we are breaking news constantly using the different platforms available to us.

    SHOOT: Much of mainstream media are still locked in a mindset of traditional print-based deadlines. The power of the internet is that you're able to get up-to-the minute, live and near-live coverage. On the internet , information wants to be free, and that includes freedom from timeframes.
    clipped from grubstreet.co.za

    I’m very pleased with our newspaper and online offering today even though our coverage is centred on a ghastly story, the murder trial of Wendy Manthe who pleaded guilty yesterday to strangling her two children.

    1. Online News Editor Jan Hennop headed to the East London High Court and was given permission by the Judge to cover the trial live on twitter from within the court. As far as I am aware this has never been done before in South Africa. Jan posted some riveting updates, describing tearful scenes as Manthe broke down as her chilling confession was read to the court;

    2. We followed this through with fuller updates on our blog where readers began to comment on the events of the day,

    3. Meanwhile, Tegan Bedser, one of our senior online staffers, was working like crazy putting an excellent multi-media presentation together using the tools on a brilliant website called vuvox.com. You can see the result of that work here

    We kept the full text of the confession aside for the front page
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    Swine flu at 70 000 blah blah blah

    Some affected countries no longer keep track of all cases according to the UN health agency, while others do not report for each of the thrice-weekly bulletins.

    SHOOT: Even Forbes is reporting over 1 million infections in the USA alone. So a figure like 70 000 globally, and 7 in South Africa is just thumb sucking. It's everywhere, it's deadly, so be careful and alert.
    clipped from news.theage.com.au

    The number of recorded swine flu cases has reached 70,893 worldwide, with 311 deaths, since the virus was first discovered in late March, according to data released by the World Health Organisation on Monday.

    The data indicated 11,079 new influenza A(H1N1) infections, including 48 deaths, since the last bulletin on Friday.

    The largest increase in case-load was reported by the United States, which added 6,268 cases including 40 deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 27,717 including 127 deaths.

    Canada posted a jump of 1,043 new cases, with its total infections now reaching 7,775 including 21 deaths.

    Australia showed an increase of 758 new cases including four deaths, bringing its total to 4,038 infections and seven deaths.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived at its figure based on computer models and surveys of communities known to have been hard hit by the new flu strain.

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