Rob Black's Media Stock Report

by: Rob Black

Online media company Yahoo! (YHOO), which is struggling to keep pace with top rival Google, reported profit that fell 37%, as higher advertising sales at its collection of Internet sites weren't enough to offset stock options costs and higher expenses.

The Sunnyvale based company reported revenue of $1.12 billion, up 20 percent from a year ago. Actual earnings for the three months ending in September fell to $158 from $253.8 million a year ago, when Yahoo, like most technology companies, didn't include option costs on its income statement. Sales excluding payments Yahoo makes to its content partners rose 20% to $1.12 billion, in line with the company's reduced forecast. Yahoo's stock has plunged nearly 40 percent this year, making it the second worst performing stock in the S&P 500. Investors and advertisers have flocked to Google, which will report its results Thursday and made waves last week when it announced it would buy online video juggernaut YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Viacom’s (NYSE:VIA) MTV Networks struck a deal to provide television and music video content to Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), one of China’s biggest and fastest-growing internet companies. This is the biggest effort so far to introduce American television and entertainment programming into China.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is converting its renowned headquarters nicknamed Googleplex to run partly on solar power, hoping to set an example for corporate America. This is believed to be the largest solar project undertaken by a U.S. company. Google believes the sun eventually can deliver as much as 30 percent of the power at its 1-million-square-foot campus in Mountain View. Once they're in place next spring, the solar panels are expected to produce enough power to supply about 1,000 homes.

The anticipated savings from future energy bills should enable Google to recoup the solar project's costs in five to 10 years. Energy costs are a major concern at Google, which already consumes a tremendous amount of power to run Google’s computer farms. Solar power is still two to three times more expensive than fossil fuels and relies on government subsidies to compete. The solar energy industry nevertheless is expected to grow from $11 billion in 2005 to $51 billion in 2015.

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