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GM, Jay Leno

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GM is going to file bankrupcy. This was not expected 6 months ago. But it’s a reality now. Many people blame the UAW, the management for the problems at GM, which I think only tells part of the story. GM was doing fine after Sept 11, remember the 0% “Keep America rolling” Ad campaign? (Paula Gardner opinion, Nov 20, 2008 ) The main problem, I think, is GM increasingly dump cars like cabbage, while trying to make money from the finance division (GMAC). This business model is not sustainable because it’s mostly relying on cheap credit (and arguably GM car buyers have worse cosumer credit compared to foreign make buyers). When credit dried up after Lehman bankrupcy last fall, GM’s car sales plummeted.

Keep America Rolling GM Ad Sept 11

Jay Leno

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NBC Olympics broadcast: the good, the bad

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For US audience of Beijing Olympics, NBC (including CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Telemundo and Oxygen) is the only place for extensive coverage, because the exclusive broadcast deal between NBC and IOC. While NBC did unprecedent largely positive coverage of this event, Beijing and China, I can still felt the “colored glass” of some of the comments from the anchors from time to time.

The good: the scale
NBC nearly sent all the best crews to Beijing, it is doing live broadcasting for more than 2,000 hours, covering topic from sports to the Chinese traditional snack food in Beijing. And it is airing the regular programs such as “Today” (Matt and Meredith), 5:30 PM evening news (Brian), Meet the Press (Tom) from Beijing, in addition to extensive Olympics coverage. So in other words, NBC News Operation division is essentially moved from New York to Beijing these days.

Because NBC has experience in technology, their camera crews did the opening ceremony better than CCTV (the delayed video playback was a business decision). It also has so many channels so popular sports such as gymnastics, swimming, women volleyball etc are well covered.

The bad

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Weather channel, Wimbledon

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NBC will pay $3.5 billion for weather channel, and its related properties. News here. Hm, I think besides the travellers, people interested in the weather include commodity traders. The commodities range from crude oil, natural gas, heating oil, to crops. The reason goes like this, if natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina happens, it will destroy the oil and natural gas infrustures, and cause short term disruption of oil supply. The oil and gas price will jump. Similarly, if a draught or an extreme cold weather happens, crops and heating oil will be more valuable (again, disruption of supply). I think GE/NBC made a smart move buying the weather channel here.

What a game. Weather played a factor too: the rain and the wind. Maybe it helped Nadal in some way? I was hoping Roger to win but I think he should have no regret (tried his best). One fun fact is the local NBC channel switched to baseball game (Cards vs. Cub), and we watched the game via UUSee web TV (Beijing TV 6). I also like two players comments after the game:

21:24 – A surprisingly stoic Roger Federer not letting any emotion out: “I tried everything, it went a little late and everything, but look Rafa is a deserving champion, he just played incredible todayÂ…. He’s the worst opponent on the best court, but it’s been a joy again to play here, I know I couldn’t win it under the circumstances, but I’ll be back next year.”

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