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Reader Mail, Idle Thoughts and NYC Visits


The DTV dip seems tempting... but just yet.


The DirecTV (DTV) soft quarter and general erosion has kicked up some reader mail, both from trader types and disgruntled customers.

Minyan JBR captures the gist:

Isn't News (NWS) going to just suck the life out of (DirecTV)? It seems like all the benefits (of DTV's size and scale) will flow to News. I want to buy at this per-sub price, but not with News in charge.

It's hard to say if it's News' doing, the management in place or the cable guys ratcheting up the competition but there is decidedly more sucking going on at DTV than I expected to be the case post-GMH. To offer a tepid benefit-of-the-doubt defense, GMH came to the Murdoch crew with a long list of "legacy issues" resulting from the firm being akin the Cinderella to parent company General Motors' (GM) wicked/ ugly/ financially imperiled stepsister.

Alas, the very-real Godfather (appropriate in this case both in terms of gender and power/ resolve) who rescued the mis-managed damsel is more of a "tough-love" type than might have been expected. While there has been some shoring up of GMH's indecipherable supply strategy, the overall customer experience has eroded in a way that smacks very much of ham-fisted "cost savings" on the customer service end.

Beyond operational issues, JBR mentions concerns about for whose benefit DTV is being run (don't forget the previously discussed NDS Group (NNDS) strangeness and GM's plan to dump the 8% of DTV that they still own, mentioned yesterday).

DTV should/ still-could be the one eyed man in the Valley of blind cable companies, with their 30%-after-10-years-Digital penetration and their related obsession with bundling everything. All it would/ will take is a focus on the customer.... seems so obvious, huh?

  • I'll have another data point, of sorts, on the level of interaction amongst the branches of Rupert's family tree after I do Fox TV tonight. If I get out unscathed perhaps there is hope for DTV customers and stock.
  • McDonalds (MCD) is hanging in there O.K. after doing a little missin' this AM. That the company has performed as well as it has after the loss of Jim Cantalupo is a tribute to the late CEO. He was a man who was in the process of pulling off one of the hardest tricks in corporate life; rising up through the ranks but still being able to inject fresh energy and ideas once he got the corner office. I was and am a fan of his life works.
  • This particular NYC trip is running ahead of plan... I feel like I have a full trip worth of City Glaze covering me yet I don't leave for another day.
  • The TV thing is strange to me... very fun but strange. "Show up on time, have fun, don't swear" is a comprehensive run through of my personal media strategic thinking. As long as I enjoy it, they ask and I have the Ville to push I'll do it whenever I'm available.
  • Speaking of fun, dropping into the Ville in person every couple/ few weeks is a blast. The company is on the cusp of the Next Level and it's great to be a part of it. Coming in only occasionally allows me to see the growth from a different perspective than the guys in the pit here every day... it's something like watching a plant grow in time-lapse photography.
  • It was interesting watching Bono dodge Dylan Ratigan's "i-pod sell-out" question with a deft "we didn't accept any moooney frum Apple (AAPL)"... except for the band's chunk of the $150 U2 box sets buying the branded i-Pod entitled you to, that is.
  • Not that there's anything wrong with being a capitalist, of course.
  • Another thing I get to see grow with every visit is Todd-O's Mandy Moore fixation. I'm not sure if he wants to babysit her or take her to dinner.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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