Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Friday, April 24, 2015 5:23pm
Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Felix Salmon of Fusion and Jo Ling Kent of Fox Business News.
The big topics this week: Nasdaq's record high, Greece's meeting with eurozone finance ministers in Riga, Latvia and the collapse of the Time Warner Cable-Comcast merger.
Listen to the full conversation using the audio player above.
Friday, April 24, 2015 5:00pm
This story falls firmly in the categories of A: People having too much time on their hands and B: Stuff that's kind of interesting nonetheless.
Students at the University of Leicester over in the U.K. have figured out how much paper it would take to print the Internet. The whole Internet.
They started by figuring out what it would take to print Wikipedia. Turns out? Almost 71 million pieces of paper.
Then, using the generally accepted figure of 4.5 billion websites out there, and adjusting for font size, pictures and all that, they say it'd take 136 billion pieces of 8-by-11-inch paper to print the whole Internet.
Friday, April 24, 2015 5:00pm
Amazon released first-quarter earnings Thursday, and made it clear that, for now, it owns the cloud and it's raining profits.
Amazon Web Services, which offers data storage and other tech services, took in revenues of $1.57 billion during the first three months of the year. Profits topped $265 million.
“Yeah, I mean, [it's] really firing on all cylinders,” says Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst at Robert Baird.
Amazon's success in the cloud can be credited to one very smart move, says Sebastion. It got there first.
“The reason they dominate is they created this market,” he says
Amazon started as an online marketplace for everything. To be that marketplace, it had to build more and more servers. The company built to peak capacity, which means often times it was left with more capacity than it needed.
“They woke up one day and realized they could sell that same service to other companies.”
Amazon Web Service’s profit margin is 17 percent. The company's overall profit margin is 2 percent. "Think of it as accounting for a third of overall profits, a tremendous amount of operating income” says Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.
Cloud services are still a nascent industry. “There are literally tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars at stake,” says Sebastian.
And AWS is still seven times larger than Microsoft's cloud services — it's nearest competitor, says Munster. But Google, IBM and HP are all racing to catch up by offering more than simple data storage, which has become a commodity.
Munster says it’s going to be hard for competitors to gain market share. AWS already has more than a million customers including Netflix and NASA, “and now what we’re seeing now, is businesses are standardizing on Amazon Web Service, building applications that are optimized for AWS, that just creates more stickiness.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said web services could one day outsize Amazon’s retail business. That day may not come soon enough. As it has done many times, the retail side posted a loss last quarter.
Friday, April 24, 2015 4:45pm
Long ago, CEO pay came in the form of a CEO paycheck — and perhaps a bonus.
Today, Aaron Boyd, director of governance research at executive compensation firm Equilar, says those cash payments are dwarfed by the roughly 65 percent of compensation for S&P 500 CEOs that comes in the form of stock.
Time-based Stock: Stocks that are awarded once you have worked at a company for a specific amount of time, such as 5 years.
Performance Stock: Stocks that are awarded if the company meets certain metrics, like revenue goals or earnings per share.Raghu Manavalan/Marketplace
The shift to stock was motivated in part by regulators' and shareholders' desire to make CEOs more accountable.
"The obvious thing to do for the CEO would be to just, you know, relax, definitely slack off on our dime," says Lalitha Naveen, associate professor of finance at the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
"If you want to prevent that then you want the CEO to think like a shareholder," Naveen says.
Most of that stock compensation itself is now tied to some further performance metrics. But Kevin Murphy, professor of finance and business economics at the USC Marshall School of Business, thinks while the idea sounds good on paper, it's only created more ways to game the compensation system.
Friday, April 24, 2015 3:15pm
The place for Hollywood insiders to be this week was not on the lot or a fancy restaurant in Beverly Hills. They weren't in California at all. Instead, all eyes were on Las Vegas.
The biggest stars, directors and studios crowded into a high-tech theater at Caesars Palace, where they showed new trailers, behind-the-scenes footage and even some full-length films. Plus, the latest and greatest in sound and theater technology.
It's a confab you might not be familiar with, called CinemaCon. Unlike, say, Comic-Con, movie fans are not invited. Instead, theater owners from around the world come to see everything from the latest projectors, new food items to sell alongside the popcorn, and of course, the movies themselves.
"In this day and age, a theater owner could watch a trailer back home. But this is a way to sort of make them feel special and give them attention," said Pamela McClintock, senior film writer for the Hollywood Reporter, who was in Las Vegas covering the event.
That attention included big stars announcing big new projects. Vin Diesel paid homage to Paul Walker and announced that yes, there will be an eighth movie in the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Tom Cruise presented footage for the next "Mission: Impossible film." But that wasn't all.
He "talked about doing the stunt where he's hanging off the side of the airplane, which you see in the trailer," McClintock said. "They showed unedited footage and you could see the rope where we was hanging... It really was him."
That sense of excitement is especially important in cultivating the ongoing relationship between filmmakers and theater owners, because exhibitors don't make that much money on the movies themselves. Most of it comes from concessions: popcorn and those 4-gallon sodas.
Some of McClintock's snack-worthy picks among the movies promoted at this year's CinemaCon, beyond Tom Cruise hanging from a rope on the side of an airplane, include:
Jurassic World "seemed to really wow theater owners," McClintock said.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Tomorrowland, "the Brad Bird movie with George Clooney was another big [one]," McClintock said.
And come the fall awards season, we'll be looking ahead to Alejando Iñárritu's next movie The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio; David O. Russell's Joy; and Ridley Scott's The Martian, starring Matt Damon.
March 31, 2015