This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions
for blog content that you've read or written.
"Winning an Oscar not only signals the high quality of a film, but also creates a marketing windfall. Given all of this newly-created value, it's fair for cinemas to consider raising ticket prices for Oscar-winning-or even Oscar-nominated films. The industry could use the extra revenue. While the movie business is glamorous, it isn't a cash cow. Operating margins, for example, for Viacom's filmed entertainment division (which includes Paramount Pictures) and the Regal Entertainment Group (a large cinema chain) are 6% and 8% respectively. An extra buck or two of margin for select films would be meaningful to both studios and movie houses." (Also Read 2012 Oscars Mirror Wall Street's Nostalgia for a Simpler Past
"Americans have always treated debt as a favorite vice. We like to borrow and we like to cluck at borrowers. But lately the balance has tilted toward clucking. Debt is in ill repute. And that is why you should read this contrarian paper from two professors at the University of Chicago, arguing not only that borrowing is good, but that borrowing is so good that it should be heavily subsidized by the federal government. The paper, it should be said, is about corporations. It seems to me that some of the most interesting implications are for large banks and mortgages " (For related content, see Taking Steps Toward a Way Out of Debt and Deficits
"Motorola Mobility is willing to pay you to buy one of its phones. The company is starting a trade-in program on Tuesday offering up to $200 to people who swap their older devices for a Motorola smartphone that comes with Google's Android software. The program is aiming at professional customers who want a smartphone for both personal and business use, according to the Chicago Tribune, which first reported the story. Along with the money offer, Motorola Mobility, soon to be part of Google, is also offering an information technology service for professional customers to set up their accounts, transfer contacts and coordinate with corporate I.T. departments, according to a Motorola Mobility spokesman." (For related content, see Google Wins Motorola Battle, But Shareholders May Lose the War
"The economic data keeps coming fast and furious, with Consumer Confidence just printing at a blistering 70.3 on expectations of 63.0, up from 61.5? Why? Because crude is approaching records and gas is $5? No - because the market is up of course on trillions in liquidity. So confidence is up because the market is higher, and the second the higher than expected confidence number prints, the market is higher on that alone. Catch 22 FTW, and it is not alone - every other confidence-based indicator in the past 3 months has beat! Because human beings, indoctrinated to only care about nominal gains, really are that dumb - something well known and appreciated by the central bankers."
"There are many voices that continue to clamor for a European bond; one that is backed collectively by the various members. Germany and the other creditor nations are understandably skeptical especially without greater fiscal unity. We have argued that Europe is constructing a fiscal union in a similar way that a skyscraper is built. Scaffolding comes first. Such scaffolding exists for a collective bond. The basis for such a bond exists though; not in theory, but in practice. Unfortunately politicians do not get credit for re-inventing the wheel."
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