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TREND:Spain Jobless Rates Surges to More than 20%

Spain's jobless rate surges to 20.33%

Spain is one of the dominoes in the PIGS countries, expected to fall.  After Ireland, the European Union may not pick up the pieces of excessive spending, corruption and excess spending in the PIIGS countries.

MADRID (AFP) – Spain announced Friday its jobless rate surged to a 13-year record above 20 percent at the end of 2010, the highest level in the industrialized world, as the economy struggled for air.

It was more bad news for an economy fighting to regain the trust of financial markets and avoid being trapped in a debt quagmire that has engulfed Greece and Ireland and now menaces Portugal.

Another 121,900 people joined Spain's unemployment queues in the final quarter of the year, pushing the total to 4.697 million people, said the national statistics institute INE.

The resulting unemployment rate was 20.33 percent for the end of the year -- easily exceeding Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's target of 19.4 percent.

Spain appears to be stuck in a rut of staggeringly high levels of unemployment.

Writing on a Typewriter...and Computer

My kids once asked me about my manual typewriter:  "How do you turn it on?"  I said, "This is an amazing instrument...because it's always on!"  Then they asked, "How do you save?"  I pulled the paper out of the typewriter and handed it to them.  "Here you go!"

The days of pounding on metal keys on a manual typewriter are long gone.  Or are they?  In this YouTube video, you can see the USB Typewriter which combines the Damon Runyon feel of the typewriter with the modern screen.

The website says:

The USBTypewriter™ is a new and groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence.  Lovers of the look, feel, and quality of old fashioned manual typewriters can now use them as keyboards for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC, Mac, or even iPad!  The modification is easy to install, it involves no messy wiring, and does not change the outward appearance of the typewriter (except for the usb adapter itself, which is mounted in the rear of the machine).  So the end result is a retro-style USB keyboard that not only looks great, but feels great to use.



Trend: Newspapers to New Media

The trend is accelerating for newspapers and other printed media to offer subscriptions.  Will the New Media consumer buy this model?  After all, most people using the Internet expect information for free.   A number of publications have tried the subscription model and failed completely.    James Murdoch said that journalism is shifting in this way:

DLD: James Murdoch: ‘99 Cents A Week Makes Sense’ For The Daily

The Daily, still on track to launch in the next few weeks, will surprise people with its “depth and quality,” James Murdoch told DLD attendees. He talked up the 99-cent weekly subscription as a “very good price that makes sense.” But, he admits, no one really knows what will work for the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). iPad publication. (More on UK pay efforts here.)

“The pricing models for apps and paid journalism in general is developing,” says Murdoch, including whether or not to bundle with things, offer packages or tiers. But it has to be “super simple, easy as possible, and a great value for customers.”

The Hollywood Reporter also went paperless but they have an unusual model.   At a Hollywood Conference Forum that I attended in December, 2010, their editor said that the Hollywood Reporter has a strong core audience, i.e., the Film and TV industries and also a global industry i.e., celebrity wannabees, gossipmongers and the general public.   A good point.   People in Beijing, Dakar, Cairo or Berlin will get a subscription for their Entertainment Editors to be in the know - as well as the core Los Angeles and other production center crowds like NY, Chicago, Louisiana, etc.,   "Hollywood Reporter Goes Paperless" (Sept 2010)

Julian: The Hollywood Reporter’s seems to be taking a big risk

Lacter: That’s right – here’s another example of how the entertainment industry is changing. Beginning next month, there will be no more daily print edition of the Hollywood Reporter – instead, the new owners plan to introduce a weekly edition that’ll look more like a regular magazine than a trade publication. A lot of the regular show-biz news will be moved onto the publication’s Web site.

Julian: So much of the Hollywood news these days can be found online for free.

Lacter: Yeah, that has really upended the business model for both the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety, which has relied on industry advertising. Thing is, the industry has downsized its advertising plans – just not as many movies being made and there’s also been a big drop in DVD sales. Besides, anyone in Hollywood under 40 is not used to picking up a printed publication each morning, especially when much of the news is available the day before on the Web. So both publications were forced to downsize their operations and take stock on how they do business. That’s why the Hollywood Reporter’s new approach is being watched, not only in the entertainment industry but all over.

Julian: Like maybe at other publications?


TREND: Arts Downloading...Ballet & Economic Models

Arts programs, like ballet and opera, can sell their downloads for more to 'core' audiences.  Ideal for today's global marketing.

In the world of digital downloads, the consumer has embraced music, software and now film downloads.  With the rise of Netflix in relation to its scrambling cable cousins, the business model has shifted consumer focus from an $80-100 monthly cable bill.   Indeed, 'cutting the cable bill' has become a common term in that industry with the trend accelerating. With Netflix offering films for $8.99 a month vs. $100, it's not tough to see who will win.

In the Arts like Ballet and Opera, however, we have an acceleration of mediataped sales.  These Arts downloads are a bit different.  Core audiences - not a general movie audience.  Expensively mounted production efforts.   And the consideration that a prestigious Institution - a national ballet company, etc., - would lower itself to showing its art on the Internet!

Well, the time has come for them to do so, probably on economic terms.   In the Lowdown on Arts Downloading, we get a few samples of well-known (in their particular worlds) companies putting their wares out on the Internet for download sale.    The Arts have the 'Core' Principle down pat.  Ballet and opera attendance is for a focused group that enjoys this particular art form.  It isn't a broad entertainment sector like films, TV or music.

But having a 'Core' audience is critical in today's marketing schema.   The Arts can market to high-end customers to get a higher price for their downloads which are $14.99 for the ballet.   The operas are getting $25 for digital viewing at local theaters.  The article says this:

The other half of my digital exploration also had my jaw on the floor. La Scala's new production of the traditional double bill "Cav" and "Pag"—Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci"—was presented at BIG Cinemas Manhattan Theater on East 59th Street, near Second Avenue. I saw it there, and it was also shown at Symphony Space on the Upper West Side.

Although opera companies, especially the Metropolitan Opera, embraced HD years ago, I hadn't been to movie-theater broadcast for the simple reason that there is so much live theater, dance and music to see. And since I hadn't seen this famous double bill, the La Scala production seemed a good place to start.

I was wrong. It wasn't just good—it was magnificent.

Opportunity is coming in many directions for all types of arts, especially those with core audiences and higher prices due to those specialities.

Social Networking...Leads to Madness?

This article "Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US" - discusses the isolation that has resulted from avid Twitter and Facebook users.

So of course I thought I'd post on Facebook!  And show that I'm crazy!

Users are disconnected from reality with greater isolation.   I would tend to agree.  A posting on twitter or Facebook is the Chinese fast food of social interaction - no real nutritional value - and leaves you wanting later.    The article examines a particular book, "Alone Together" which says, "Turkle's thesis is simple: technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality that is a poor imitation of the real world."  The question is about how one uses social media.  As an easy fix instead of getting out into the world, a brief chalkboard, a portal to a perceived reality?

A great book was written in the 70's called, "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television."   Not likely, but still it made on aware that the impressions on the brain from television were eroding our ability to tell fact from fiction.   We may not be able to separate our true experiences from television experiences.  These cross-collateralized experiences give us a false sense of false sense of our own history - causing us to take on risks that we wouldn't ordinarily take.  These risks might include the use of violence in a criminal manner.  Remember, when the bad guy is caught on television, he or she is taken away in handcuffs.  The show cuts to a commercial but not their ten, twenty or thirty years in prison.   No mental connection is made in our brain.

Other Key findings:

•A recent bestseller in the US, The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, suggested that use of the internet was altering the way we think to make us less capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as books and magazine articles. The book was based on an essay that Carr wrote in the Atlantic magazine. It was just as emphatic and was headlined: Is Google Making Us Stupid?

•Another strand of thought in the field of cyber-scepticism is found in The Net Delusion, by Evgeny Morozov. He argues that social media has bred a generation of "slacktivists". It has made people lazy and enshrined the illusion that clicking a mouse is a form of activism equal to real world donations of money and time.

But even the backlash now has a backlash, with many leaping to the defence of social media. They point out that emails, Twitter and Facebook have led to more communication, not less – especially for people who may have trouble meeting in the real world because of great distance or social difference.



TREND: 3D Continues On...

My teenage son refuses to see a 3D movie.  Perhaps he is, as one professional noted, on one side or the other of the Bell Curve on this tech choice.  Nonetheless, I know a lot of people who'd see Avatar in 3D but not many other films.   Will the novelty continue or wear off?

Headaches abound, not just technically, but for the audience. I went to the DGA Digital Day which, about four years ago, had three new 3D vendors.  Two years later, there were six major efforts.


TREND: U.S. State Deficits - Check out this graph

American states are virtually bankrupt with their profligate spending sprees and catering to the exorbitant pensions of some U.S. workers (probably not all).   The special interests feeds the Democratic politicians with money for elections - getting golden deals in return through government employment and pension plans.

Illinois owes $6Billion in unpaid bills and is borrowing just to make pension payments for the next year - maybe!  The other states are California (leading the country in bankruptcy and insolvency) as well as New York, Michigan and other states.

Where does your state stand?  Click here.

TREND: Pension Pledges in UK Exceed Their Entire Economy

The promises made to the elderly and the arm-twisting banner deals made by special interests i.e., union concessions, are simply impossible to pay.   In the U.K. alone, the pension pledges are 3.5x their entire economy.

Pension pledges have left UK and US 'insolvent'

The world's most advanced economies, including Britain and the US, would be insolvent if they accounted properly for the pension and health pledges made to their aging populations, an authoritative report has warned.

•"Age-related liabilities dwarf short-term issues such as the cost of fiscal stimulus [in the recession]," the report added. It estimated that the undisclosed cost of age-related spending in the UK is roughly 3.5 times the size of the UK economy – or around £5 trillion.

•Christian Mumenthaler, chief marketing officer at Swiss Re and a co-author, said cultural changes would be necessary. People will have to work longer, pay more towards age-related care and receive less in old age. In the European Union, 16pc of the population is currently above 65. Within 40 years, it will be 28pc, he added.



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