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Dominic Jones  

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  • Why I'm Cancelling Netflix, And Why You Should Care [View article]
    Do your own research. They're losing nothing from people willingly marketing what they're watching on Netflix to their friends. Those numbers are confined to Canada and Latin America, as social marketing is not available in the US. When the law is changed, it'll be interesting.
    Dec 29, 2011. 02:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'm Cancelling Netflix, And Why You Should Care [View article]
    If Canada is to be used as a barometer, then international expansion is working out quite nicely seeing that they achieved break-even two years ahead of plan, based on a fairly mediocre offering.

    Some of the negative publicity in the US did rub off on Canada in 3Q in the form of reduced word-of-mouth referrals, but there is still no meaningful competition in Canada.

    In 4Q, the content offering in Canada is much better. In 4Q, Netflix has the benefit of free social marketing in Canada and South America. The benefits of that are not known, but they're adding around 15,000 individuals per day who potentially are marketing the service to an average of 100+ friends. Word-of-mouth sells this service.

    Films and TV shows are not commodities in the same way music is. Not just anyone can stream movies and TV shows. Bring $2 billion per year to the party if you want to play. Distribution barriers are lower, but NFLX still has a massive lead, including now with new TVs that include a Netflix button built into the remote.

    Yes, huge risks going forward. And, yes, a potentially huge global opportunity that only Netflix is currently pursuing.

    Dec 29, 2011. 01:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I'm Cancelling Netflix, And Why You Should Care [View article]
    Bandwidth isn't a problem. Netflix adjusted the default quality in Canada and that fixed the issue. Customers can change to HD in their accounts if they want. I haven't bothered because the default is fine. Bandwidth caps with my ISP are 8 times what I use with two simultaneous streams.

    Netflix Canada's problem is content. But there is nothing better for the price. Period. On their last CC, NFLX said they'd be increasing content spend in Canada to match the US on per customer basis. We've already seen some of the benefits of that.

    If you only watch 2 movies a month, only watch current TV series, don't mind ads, then what the author says is true.

    But if you want to see an entire season of a TV series you missed -- without ads -- whenever you feel like it, while the kids watch their favorites in the other room, Netflix is the best deal going.

    With Netflix Canada, I've been able to cut my monthly cable bill by reducing the cable packages I used to subscribe to while simultaneously doubling both my internet speed and bandwidth. Netflix is saving me money while providing a more pleasurable internet experience.

    Long NFLX
    Dec 28, 2011. 05:15 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Reasons To Own Valero Energy [View article]
    Solid and to-the-point, I really appreciate you sharing your perspective here. Through it, I've now also discovered your blog, which is now in my RSS reader.
    Dec 10, 2011. 01:25 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix Elicits More Anger, Fewer Google Searches [View article]
    Compare "cancel netflix" and "www. netflix .com/ activate"

    What do you make of that?
    Nov 2, 2011. 05:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix: Transparency, Accessibility and Corporate Responsibility [View article]
    Netflix is following Google, Microsoft and a host of others that have made this move away from PR wire intermediaries to direct distribution coupled with SEC filings. My post lists most of them

    Unfortunately, every company that makes the change gets slammed by the PR wires and their cronies as being somehow less transparent than they were before, even though they’re releasing precisely the same information they were before – and in a manner that gives everyone the same opportunity to get it.

    Those who complain about companies not using PR wires either have a vested interest (financial, career) in keeping the PR wires in business, or they don’t realize that some people get prior access to PR wire releases before the rest of the market. I’ve documented that here: Most US investors get PR wire releases 80 seconds after Wall Street

    Lastly, if you really want the company’s official position, you can go to EDGAR. That might be the best place for the official corporate record as companies are much more careful about what they file with the SEC than they are with what they push out on PR wire services. Also, important information is filed on EDGAR that is never distributed via a PR wire service. You can get all of Netflix’s SEC filings via a free Atom feed here:
    Jan 17, 2011. 09:13 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Responds to Whitney Tilson: Cover Your Short Position. Now. [View article]
    I'd rather have the CEO take a couple hours to write a post here than waste a day prepping, travelling and then presenting at some invitation-only investor conference where, wait for it, he gets to *plug his stock.* To an audience of, um, 100 or so? And then meet one-on-one with maybe 6 or 7 carefully chosen people.

    How many thousands of people has this post reached? All the media coverage? The comments, positive and negative. It has been an outstanding use of his time if you ask me.

    Sure, he gets the luxury of being able to polish and edit before posting. He can spin things and choose words carefully. And yes, it's easier to BS in writing than in person.

    Even so, no matter if you're long or short, it's better to have this kind of access than not have it.

    Dec 21, 2010. 04:31 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    Came back here because I just encountered a need that isn't being met. I was on a company's profile page here on Seeking Alpha and I wanted to ask them a question. Rather than go to their website or send them a private message on SA, I wanted to post the question publicly on their page and get their answer back publicly on the site and via email.

    So how about an "Ask This Member a Question" feature? It should be optional, something members choose to turn on if they're willing to answer questions. And there should be a mechanism for people to subscribe to the Q&A stream via email and web feed to be updated whenever there is a new Q or A. And Q&A posters should be able to share their post/comment to their socnet accounts.

    This addresses the previous comment to some extent. BTW, Formspring is a site that has taken Q&A to a new level

    Just a thought.
    Jul 25, 2010. 04:59 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes From Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting: Long Live the King [View article]
    One of the reasons for what you've experienced is that at most companies investor relations doesn't actually deal with proxy and annual meeting issues. That falls to the corporate secretary or legal counsel.

    Still, it's no excuse and IR people should take the time to understand what the problems are. In Google's case, as with 92% of other companies, the proxy distribution is handled by Broadridge Financial Solutions if your stock is held in a brokerage account in so-called Street Name. The company typically doesn't have the email addresses or mailing addresses of its shareowners because those are controlled by the brokerages. Companies pay Broadridge to do the mailings, and the fee to do so is non-negotiable and part of it goes to the brokerages. This is a big issue and companies and various other parties are fighting to have greater insight into who their shareholders are so they can communicate directly with them (and also know which activist investors are buying, but that's another issue).

    What I'm suggesting is that blaming Google investor relations for missing proxies probably isn't fair because, as with most companies' IR departments, they probably didn't handle the proxy mailing. Another factor is that Google used the "notice-and-access" process for proxy delivery. This is where you get a notice in the mail and are expected to go online to view the materials. The SEC approved this process and it has been a disaster for the most part because few people bother to go online or just forget. So they may have received the notices, but not proxy materials and may be confused about why. I think this notice-and-access process is stupid and I've told the SEC as much.

    As for not answering phone calls from individual investors, I have to agree that it's poor form. I suppose they want to avoid long phone calls because, like most companies, they don't have a large staff in IR to talk to hundreds of people with the same questions. My experience is that if you email them, you'll get a quick response, which is more than I can say of 75% of the U.S. companies I email with questions. That never happens when I email European companies. They always get back to me, even the CFOs. The only difference I can find to explain this is that European companies typically have larger IR departments than U.S. companies.

    I found your article illuminating and very informative. Thanks.

    BTW, if you don't own Google stock (referring to disclosure:none) how did you attend the meeting and get that free lunch? Those eclairs look delicious and I'm jealous.
    May 17, 2010. 03:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    Perhaps we can crowd source a couple of article templates for them, online forms with questions for them to answer They're used to that format. :-)

    Seriously, though, I think IR people will adjust what they write if they know there's a chance their articles could be featured on SA and syndicated to Yahoo! Finance and elsewhere. And those who aren't producing content outside of what they're required to for compliance may be attracted to start.

    No promises, though.
    Apr 18, 2010. 03:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    "What sort of articles do you think IROs would want to write on Seeking Alpha if they would be widely syndicated?"

    I don't think most IROs should write anything. Their executives and experts in their companies should write about what they know: industry trends, emerging issues, macro stuff that 1) investors say they want and, 2) that won't get them in trouble on Reg. FD.

    "Would IROs be comfortable with the compliance issues?"

    The compliance issues are the same for the web as they are in any other forum. If executives and IROs are comfortable doing one-one-ones in private where the risks are highest, posting stuff on the public web isn't an issue.

    "Would what they write be sufficiently differentiated from press releases, SEC filings and other information feeds?"

    Yes. There's not a whole lot of context in news releases, and SEC filings, while excellent sources of insight, are often heavily buttoned down and don't leave much scope for opinion. I see companies providing context around their businesses, industry issues, and perhaps raising issues of mutual interest to investors and executives e.g. short-termism, holdings disclosure etc.

    Of course, I'm sure there'll also be a ton of submissions designed promote a single company. But you can just refuse to syndicate those and they can remain as Instablogs that no one reads.
    Apr 16, 2010. 07:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    The blogs Darrell offers are typical of what is available right now. That's not saying much unfortunately.

    But I think Seeking Alpha might provide an incentive for corporate blogs to offer up some better content if there was an opportunity to syndicate the content to Yahoo! Finance and other partners.
    Apr 16, 2010. 07:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    Definitely some truth in what Alan says. However, when you have little or no sell-side coverage and no one knows about your company or you stock is thinly traded, a few trolls and tough questions are a small price to pay. Still, it's a tough thing to sell to execs unaccustomed to being questioned.
    Apr 16, 2010. 07:01 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]

    All valid points you've made about how IROs and company execs can use the tools on Seeking Alpha. I believe that ultimately you are right. Getting heavily involved in the site and engaging with investors will deliver the best results for companies and the most value to other users.

    But that's a lot of work and a big commitment. There needs to be a sweetener, something to entice companies to give the site a try. I think that treating company executives the same as any other contributor and syndicating great contributions to your partners will be high attractive.

    Sure, company executives are positive on their companies and cannot be impartial. Everyone knows that. But they're also experts on their businesses and industries and can provide valuable perspectives. I don't think anyone is asking Seeking Alpha to compromise on its editorial standards. It's in everyone's best interests that you have high standards.

    We're just saying that a strict policy that excludes, out of hand, great content by industry experts just because they happen to work for a public company doesn't make sense for anyone either.
    Apr 16, 2010. 03:55 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Why don't IR people use Seeking Alpha? [View instapost]
    The only reason for IROs to use Seeking Alpha is to gain exposure to the audience here. However, achieving exposure here requires IROs to invest substantial time on the site following, commenting, and writing Stocktalks and Instablogs. Time is a scarce commodity for IROs, so they need to see a very strong return on the time they invest here because they could be spending that time doing many other things.

    The problem is that there is so much content on Seeking Alpha, that contributions by company representative get lost. If Seeking Alpha could do one thing to help IROs who are willing to put in the time, it is this:

    Where there’s merit, make a conscious effort to promote Instablogs contributed by company representatives to the Seeking Alpha homepage or other main pages. Don’t promote rubbish, but when an IRO or company executive posts quality content, give it a boost.
    The types of stories you promote will provide examples to others of the kind of content your editors consider relevant to the core audience that uses Seeking Alpha. It may also help to encourage more IROs and company executives to join in.

    On the issue of Seeking Alpha not allowing company representatives to contribute Articles that are syndicated to your partners, I don’t believe the policy is fair. Treat companies the same way you treat all other contributors, on the merits of the individual contributions.

    If all of Seeking Alpha’s contributors were journalists with a professional duty to objectivity, I’d understand the current policy. However, almost everyone who contributes to Seeking Alpha brings with them a bias of some sort. Your current method for dealing with these biases is to require Contributors to disclose any positions they have in securities they mention.

    Why not do the same for Articles contributed by company representatives? Prominently (at the top) identify the syndicated articles as having been written by a company representative. Even high-profile financial publications do this via op-eds. I think you were working on a separate contributor category for verified company representatives, which is a good idea.

    Of course, Seeking Alpha should retain complete editorial control over which company contributed articles it chooses to distribute and no one should ever be able to pay to have an article syndicated. And I would encourage you to set a market-cap requirement to avoid denuding the quality of your syndicated content. Also, all company contributed articles should be submitted by a named employee of the company via an existing company or personal Seeking Alpha account. Don’t let “investor relations” firms submit the articles.

    Given opportunities to reach a potentially large audience of investors by contributing high quality content, I think you’ll find IROs and other company executives will use Seeking Alpha.
    Apr 15, 2010. 03:23 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment