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September 2010

Linked In to Your Profile

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

One of the benefits of having a LinkedIn profile is being able to count the number of times your profile has been looked up by others (here's the latest from my profile):

Your profile has been viewed by 8 people in the last 7 days

After speaking with a friend that is looking for a new position, it became clear how imporant it is to optimize your LInkedIn profile.  In fact, by enriching her profile with high demand keywords, she was able to double the number of profile views.

The benefits for her were numerous including more profile views, more recruiter calls and for those recruiters that do call, a better match between resume/history and the positions being sought.  A good source for traffic or keywords is Google itself.  ONe simple approach is to type in the word "marketing" if this is your speciality and type the letter "a" as the start of the next work.  Underneath the search box, Google will suggest the most typed in word - the one that has the highest demand.  In this case it is Assistant, one of the most searched keyword combinations.

9-26-2010 1-16-12 PM
All for now..Need to adjust my profile.

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Will Satellite Listeners Follow Their Leader?

In a story being overlooked by most of the business and technology press, but critically important to any listener of Sirius XM Satellite Radio (SIRI), are the negotiations currently underway for a renewal of "king of all media" Howard Stern's contract. While to some this may appear just one of many contract negotiations or just one provider of content across a network of almost 200 Sirius XM channels,this clearly is

Howard Stern in 2000.Image via Wikipedia

not the case.

What is at stake is the very future of both Satellite Radio and Radio in general. For those who are not Howard Stern fans, first some history.  Before Howard joined Sirius, the network had several hundred thousand subscribers and could have easily folded in the shadow of the signficantly larger competitor XM.  When XM took a pass on the Howard Stern show, Sirius jumped at the chance to sign Stern for a contract widely reported to be 5 years and 500 million dollars. Millions of subscribers followed Stern to Sirius, ultimately weakening XM and forcing a merger between the two companies.

The central question in the Howard Stern contract negotiations with Sirius is what is he worth to the network.  His value depends on your view of the future, which is why this single negotiation could could have significant remifications for the radio and satellite industries.

If you take a conservative world view, you believe that technology will remain somewhat as it is.  More and more cars will have Sirius XM built in to the vehicle, and given the monopoly status of this satellite carrier, car owners will have no choice but to sign up for the service if they want Sirius programming.  This view assumes that the value of programming such as the Oprah Channel, various sports channels, and a few other well known personalities is enough to drive subscriptions.  This also assumes that without a large payout to Stern, the networks can develop just enough programming to attract enough subscribers to offset any loss in listenership caused by Stern.  An additional issue for Sirius XM is the future expectation of revenue, which under this scenario will mildly increase each year, resulting in a steady rise in the stock price.

In a more progressive world view, the Internet and mobile devices will play a larger role in communications.  In the same way that Sirius XM channels can be heard over the Internet, Stern can choose to launch his own broadcast network.  This network can use a combination of Ineternet and wireless devices as carriers as well as distribution on terrestrial radio.  If Stern takes just 50% of the estimated 6,000,000 subscribers he brought to Sirius XM and transfers that listernship to a $5 a month , this equals annual revenue of $180,000,000.  A sum that easily supports the launch of a new network.  Even half that number will easily sustain a new network that has little infrastructure expense.  The largest costs will be customer service and customer acquisition in addition to paying Stern himself.

If you also assume that car media and media in general will be powered by some combination of the Internet and wireless technology, and Stern begins to broadcast music, news and local traffic, on an infinite number of "stations" (or URLs) vs. the fixed number available on Satellite,  he can easily duplicate the reach of XM Sirius, not to mention the potential for International expansion.  Not only that, as revenues grow, he can easily afford to attract the premium talent required to drive a subscription model. This doesn't even mention added value opportunities, such as the ability to bundle Howard TV into the audio subscription model.

As Stern often points out, there is a big difference between asking a consumer to write a monthly or one time check for content (as they do for HBO or a movie) and the value of content that is free.  Howard Stern has demonstrated over and over that he has the ability to create value for his audience that is worth paying for.

Given the way technology is evolving, it appears clear that XM Sirius would be well served to contract with those individuals such as Stern that are devleoping content worth paying for.  This isn't about Satellites in the sky, but the future of content and the way it will delivered.  The future of Satellite Radio and Radio itself lies in the balance.  With little downside, Stern has nothing to lose with both Howard Stern and the future of broadcasting having everything to gain.

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