Monthly Archives: June 2014

Americans Slackers at Following Home Team on Mobile Devices

According to a Localytics report, Americans are not necessarily overly devoted to their home country when it comes to following the World Cup. While 92% of OnefootballBrasilmatchfollowed_final users from Brazil follow their home country; only 22% of Americans are using that app to keep tabs on the US soccer team.

Even more pathetic for American loyalty was that, instead of the most popular games of the World Cup having been the two games in which USA played, it was the first two games in which Mexico played, at least in terms of app usage.

If we just measure loyalty by old fashioned standards, like watching the game, over 18 million US viewers were tuned into the USA vs Brazil game on television. Even better, Americans are the single most represented contingent attending the games in person in Brazil. Go USA!!

Barrett Wissman Turns Around IMG

barrett pianoAs written in the International Arts Manager magazine, Barrett Wissman’s involvement with IMG has changed the face and future of the company. While IMG struggled in the early part of the new century, especially with the death of Mark McCormack in 2003, they have found new energy and spirit.

Barrett Wissman offered to buy a majority share of IMG”s artists management business. Rebranded as IMG Artists, Wissman owns 70% of the company and IMG owns 30%. With Barrett Wissman at the helm, turnover increased by 40% in two years and it was expected to grow between 10% and 15% more in 2006. They opened a Singapore office in October 2005 and another opened in Italy.

Wissman said, “There is so much going on around the world today, not just in our kind of music but in all areas, that we are in danger of losing our audience if we don’t nurture it. We as an agency cannot behave as we used to, simply booking artists into engagements the world over and taking commission. We have to work on building our audience. We have to give our artists the opportunity to be involved directly with the public. We have to re-enliven the arts and not just take money out. Our job as arts managers is to move in new directions and, because we’re in touch with so many artists at the same time, we’re in a perfect position to do exactly that.”

Wissman believes in having smaller offices all under one management umbrella. As he said, “Local knowledge is vital. It is important to be global because we need to be aware of all the potential opportunities for our artists. Without knowing what is happening on the ground, though, we would never discover these opportunities. The reason we have offices in all these places – which now includes New York, London, Paris, Lucca, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore – is build relationships with local organizations, ministries of culture and so forth.”

As he explained some of his philosophy, “The notion of arts management as a booking service is gone. The landscape has changed dramatically in terms of funding and in terms of what people actually want. We have to keep the business alive and at the moment I don’t see other agencies doing this. It might mean that we don’t get rich but we have to generate successful platforms for our art. If our festivals are of a high enough quality and create the right atmosphere then they will be such platforms. As long as we don’t actually lose money, its worth it to me.”

Obama Hosts Summit on Family-Friendly Business Models

US Only Industrialized Country w/o Paid Maternity Leave Policy

US Only Industrialized Country w/o Paid Maternity Leave Policy

This past Monday President Obama hosted a summit to discuss how the United States can improve its policies towards families, especially working mothers. At the top of the list of subjects was paid maternity leave for moms.

“Only three countries in the world report that they don’t offer paid maternity leave — three — and the United States is one of them,” Obama said during his weekly address. “It’s time to change that. A few states have acted on their own to give workers paid family leave, but this should be available to everyone, because all Americans should be able to afford to care for a family member in need.”

The summit is being held to help attract more women voters during this midterm election year.

Some states already have in place a system to pay women when they take off from work after childbirth, including New Jersey, Rhode Island and California. At issue for a federal program is how to fund it, especially since in 2008 Obama promised not to raise taxes on families earning under $250,000 per year. Obama has also refrained from supporting legislation to establish a payroll tax to fund a maternity leave program.

“Cost is an issue for any federal program and we need to make sure we do this in a way where we are not raising taxes on middle-class families,” Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett said. “But we also know what a good investment in our workforce it would be if they had paid leave, and that investment will pay great returns.”

Bot Fraud Plaguing Auto Branding Industry

Digital advertising company Solve Media reports that car companies will be spending at least $500 million on online advertisements in the United States this year which no one will ever see.

The report looked at fraudulent web traffic by which tracking thousands of web sites which are solely about cars and other vehicles. Solve Media found that during the first quarter of 2014 22 percent of views reported on those sites were not from human web traffic, but rather from robots pretending to be flesh and blood prospective car consumers.

Making the assumption that other sites on which car brands put ads are equally visited by fraudulent traffic as well Solve Media was able to calculate that car manufacturers would waste about $541 million on ads that human eyes do not see. According to eMarketer the auto industry will spend about $2.5 billion on digital branding in the US.

“Bot fraud, and ad fraud at large, follows the dollars,” said Ari Jacoby, Solve Media CEO and co-founder. “If you look at the different verticals of interest across the online and mobile advertising landscape, automotive looms large.”

Investors Pleased as S&P Rises Fourth Straight Day

What had been a market in the doldrums was roused from listlessness this week after the announcement by the Federal Reserve that the US job market is improving and inflation is low.

Wednesday’s rise in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was the fourth straight day of rising values, reaching a record high at closing time.

“The important thing is that the Federal Reserve has acknowledged that the unemployment rate seems to be coming down just a little bit faster than they expected,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

The S&P index climbed 0.8 percent, or 14.99 points, closing at 1,956.98, a record high. Earlier this week the S&P reached 1,951.27, a previous record.

US Inventory Rise Bodes Well for Economy

April was a strong month for the US economy as business inventories posted their largest increase in six months.  Leaving out figures for automobiles, the data support expectations for a significant improvement in growth during the year’s second quarter.

Numbers released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed inventories rising by 0.6 percent in April, following an increase of 0.4 percent in March. April’s increase was the steepest since last October.

According to a Reuter’s poll, economists had expected inventories to rise by only 0.4 percent in April. Inventories are an important component of gross domestic product changes. Retail inventories, not including cars, which are included in the calculation of GDP, went up by 0.2 percent

Female Executive Appointments


It’s not always easy for a woman in a man’s business world.  But these days, more and more women are rising to the challenge.  In this article, we focus on two such women who juggle the demands of an executive career in the insurance industry, with being a mom:  Beatrice R. Perez and Inger Loftheim.  In recent news linked to business giant Coca-Cola Co., Beatrice R. Perez, the company’s Chief Sustainability Officer, has left her position to join the team at Primerica Inc. Perez will now be sitting on Primerica’s Board of Directors. She held her position at Coca-Cola for nearly three years and before that, was Chief Marketing Officer for the firm’s North American Division for 10 months.  On her new appointment, Perez said:

“I’m pleased to join Primerica’s Board of Directors because I believe in what they’re doing to help bring financial security to their Main Street clients,” Perez said in a statement. “This type of economic empowerment is helping people and families realize their potential and fulfill their dreams.”

Inger Loftheim has also been successful in her executive role at Florida Blue, while being a mom to three boys.  With a Bachelor of Business Administration from Stetson University, Loftheim is Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Office of the CEO at the Insurance Firm.  Her advice to women who want to be successful is to accept that they don’t have to know everything.  She said:

Women tend to think they have to know everything about a role and often stress over the details they don’t. Inger has learned that not knowing everything is simply a chance to grow, and asking questions empowers your team – and earns their respect – when you honestly admit ‘you’re not tracking.’

In the 21st century it is possible for women to have a career and being a mom.  It’s just a case of time management as both Beatrice R. Perez and Inger Loftheim have shown.

US Job Growth at 15 Year High

For the first time this century the United States saw more than 200,000 jobs added to the economy for four months in a row. This and other data are pointing to a US economy in definite recovery mode, despite the continuing difficult economic struggle still experienced in Europe and Asia.

May’s gain of 217,000 jobs puts an official end to the Great Recession with the complete replacement of all the jobs that were lost during the previous economic crisis. This news accompanies other indicators that American consumers are gaining their confidence back in the economy. Service companies and manufacturers are growing and expanding.

“I don’t think we have a boom, but we have a good economy growing at about 3 percent,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “We’re pulling away from the rest of the world.”

Donahue Calls for Lifting of US Embargo on Cuban Business


Tom J. Donahue

Tom J. Donahue

Thomas Donahue, President of the US Chamber of Congress, is calling for an easing of the US embargo against Cuba after visiting the island country for three days at the end of May. The embargo is enforced by a series of legislative acts beginning with the signing of The Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, and continuing most recently with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

Donahue, who has been a long-time supporter of lifting the embargo, praised the growth of free enterprise in Cuba as a result of reforms made in recent years by the Cuban President Raúl Castro, successor to his brother Fidel. He believes that the embargo hurts free enterprise for American companies that would like to do business in Cuba.

Castro’s reforms have created a small-business owners class as well as private cooperatives. The Cuban government is also seeking foreign investment. This is Donahue’s first trip to Cuba in 15 years.

“I’m here because of the evidence that we’re seeing in Cuba of an extraordinary expansion of free enterprise, the reduction in government jobs, and more private hiring, all of which is moving in the right direction,” said Donohue.

The US Chamber of Commerce is one of the most influential lobbying groups in the US, and it claims that it is the world’s biggest business organization.

“As you know the chamber for years has been opposed to the sanctions as they are used,” he said to reporters shortly after his arrival.

Not everyone in the US is as ready to lift the embargo, however. New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez expressed skepticism about Donahue’s trip. He explained that he is afraid that such a policy could strengthen a government that “jails foreign business leaders without justification, violates international labor standards and denies its citizens their basic rights.”

“Such conditions hardly seem an attractive opportunity for any responsible business leader,” said Menendez, a leading Cuban-American spokesman supporting severe economic sanctions against the one-party state.