AOL Buys Huffington Post: A New Era of Online News

Online media giant AOL (AOL) has bought The Huffington Post for $315 million. It will pay $300 million in cash, the rest in stock for the news website.

When The Huffington Post raised money just over a year ago, the value of the site was rumored to be $125 million. It has 25 million unique users a month, according to Comscore figures. AOL has just over 90 million. The combined user bases could push the total ahead of MSN, the Microsoft (MSFT) portal, and perhaps Yahoo! (YHOO).

AOL, the parent company of BloggingStocks, said in a release that Arianna Huffington would lead the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group, which will integrate all the content from The Huffington Post and AOL sites, from politics and finance to Moviefone and Mapquest.

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AOL Buys Huffington Post: A New Era of Online News originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Mon, 07 Feb 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breaking pre-market news on Monday,

- AOL to buy The Huffington Post for $315m — statement.

- Julius Baer to buy back shares; annual profits rise — statement.

-...

You can profit from James Altucher’s insanity

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James Altucher is a financial journalist for The Wall Street Journal and founder of Stockpickr.com. His articles cover every angle of the market; he also stars in feature videos with other financial luminaries. He is the author of Trade Like a Hedge Fund, Trade Like Warren Buffett, SuperCa$h, and The Forever Portfolio.

He has taken a controversial path lately with numerous articles in the New York Post and Huffington Post. Some articles include: "Global Warming Is a Myth," "Should Insider Trading Be Made Legal?" "School of Hard Cash," "The Internet Is Dead (as an Investment)," and "5 Myths the Recession Taught Us."

Rumors of a new addition to the James Altucher library have entered the blogosphere, so I met with James to discuss a possible new book and the response from his recent aggressive views on finance and the stock market.

Continue reading You can profit from James Altucher's insanity

You can profit from James Altucher's insanity originally appeared on BloggingStocks on Sat, 12 Dec 2009 16:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dan Dorfman: Outfox the Experts and Win $1,000

Want an extra $1,000? Who doesn’t? Just put on your economic thinking cap and read about an intriguing contest.

If the recession has taught us anything, it’s that most economists are clunkers. Not only did the overwhelming majority of them miss the depth of the economic downturn — I’d guess at 99% — but many, would you believe, thought the idea last year of an impending recession was nonsensical.

Given this ineptness, you have to wonder whether the economic fraternity is seriously blundering again with its current consensus economic forecast, which calls for the recession to be absolute history by year end. Such an outlook, by the way, is heartily endorsed by Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner and even New York University’s economic doomsayer, Nouriel Roubini.

Granted, there’s talk about a double-dip recession — notably, the current one will end soon and another will kick off in mid-to-late 2010 or in early 2011 — but that’s basically a minority view at this juncture.

You may well think, justifiably so, that you can probably do a better job of predicting the economy than the economists can and you may be right. But are you ready to prove it and maybe win $1,000 doing it?

If so, here’s your chance. Just turn on your computer and go to TheTurnaroundBlogger.com. website, and alert the world to your economic expectations.

The site and the contest are a brainchild of Renee Fellman, a Pacific Northwest turnaround specialist who has been helping troubled businesses return to profitability for nearly 25 years.

To win, you must correctly answer two questions: In which quarter will the GDP increase by 2% or more from the prior quarter? In which month will the unemployment rate be the same or exceed the same month of the prior year?

The winner will receive $1,000 from Fellman’s Portland, Ore. firm, Renee Fellman & Associates. The earliest entry is the winner. If there are any ties, the next five winners will each receive $150. The limit is one entry per person per month and the contest will end when one of the two criteria of the contest becomes a reality.

No one, of course, knows the answers. It’s strictly guesswork. Fellman, obviously seeking to promote her company’s business and has concocted an imaginative way to do it, offers her own thoughts on the two questions. Her answers suggest she also expects the recession to end in the fourth quarter, but, alas, she looks for unemployment to be an economic drag for at least another two years.

Her forecasts: The GDP will increase by 2% from the prior quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009. On the other hand, she doesn’t think the monthly employment rate will equal or top the same month of the prior year until December of 2011.

One of the country’s premier market strategists, Bill Rhodes, the skipper of Boston-based Rhodes Analytics, who doles out advice to institutional investors, thinks we could see a quarter-to-quarter 2% jump in GDP as early as the current quarter. But Rhodes, a former investment strategist at Merrill Lynch, also thinks new job creations will lag the recovery. He doesn’t think the monthly employment rate will equal or top year-earlier numbers until April 2010 at the earliest.

The word on the economic recovery from San Francisco money manager Gary Wollin is wait till next year. He doesn’t expect a GDP sprint of 2% or more from the previous quarter until the second quarter of 2010. Around the same time, he sees a peppier employment picture, with the rate in May 2010 topping the year-earlier rate.

In any event, since it doesn’t cost anything but some time to enter the contest. It’s an effort worth thinking about. Besides, how often do you get the opportunity to pick up a G note for simply stretching your economic noodle? Who knows? I may enter the contest as well.

Sarah O’Leary: R.I.P. Gatorade (1965-2009): A Senseless Marketing Tragedy

Gatorade, one of the most well known brands of our time, was inexplicably laid to rest in early 2009 after suffering from a brief yet catastrophic case of marketing malaise. It is survived by heartbroken marketers who mourn the loss of a true brand luminary and by millions of confused consumers around the globe. Without argument, there hasn’t been a more untimely demise or massive misstep in recent beverage brand memory than the internment of the brand consumers know and love as Gatorade.

Marketing pundits at PepsiCo’s Gatorade division, for reasons beyond thoughtful imagination, believed that changing a brand-leading household name from “Gatorade” to “G” would reverse market share loss and slumping sales. The corporate team and like-minded agencies decided that a product with consumer awareness numbers higher than most deities should be replaced with a single letter that would require hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising before it held any meaning at all.

In an industry where experts have evangelized “brand equity” since the dawn of the ad man, the loss of Gatorade falls well outside of logic. Just about everyone in the free (and many in the less than free) world know the name Gatorade. The brand’s level of unaided, feel good awareness is the stuff we marketers dream about. And yet, faced with sagging sales, the choice was made to ditch the brand that was over 40 years in the perfecting. In essence, the Kleenex of sports beverages had changed its name to facial tissue.

Sadly, the experts at Gatorade failed to realize that the brand name was its biggest asset, not a problem in need of solving or its drastic change a solution to the problems it was having. Consumers knew what Gatorade was in general terms, but simply weren’t given enough of the “why to buy” necessary to move a brand. You can change a name and packaging and introduce a glitzy new ad campaign, but without the why Suzie Shopper needs to put it in her cart you won’t sell product.

It’s true that if you’re losing shelf space/market share/sales, all facets of marketing must be carefully considered. However, if you have a brand with an awareness level that rivals God, the last thing you should do is walk (or in this case wind sprint run) away from it. Instead, the Gatorade team should have figured out why they were losing at retail and invested in that solve. They didn’t need a new name or a few hundred million dollars more in image advertising. Certainly, roll up your sleeves and win the sale marketing is not as glamorous or as carefree as shooting a TV spot, but it is critical to a brand’s sales success and a whole lot less expensive. Having won the awareness battle, Team Gatorade needed to shift their primary focus to the wants/needs/desires of their consumers at the point of purchase impact. Further, strategies would need to be tailored depending on the product’s sales environment.

In convenience stores where the majority of Gatorade pulls are typically single bottles chosen by males, center the in-store promotional and advertising campaign that delivers on the target’s wants/needs/desires. In general merchandise and grocery stores where Suzie Shopper mom lives, center the effort on what she wants/needs/desires to provide for her family. Mom might not know and/or care who basketball star Kevin Garnett is, but she does want to answer the nags of her children and/or feel she’s doing what’s best for them and her household.

Luckily for us marketers, most of our races are marathons and not sprints. Often we can change strategies mid-race, and improve on our tale of the register tape. If your well-known brand’s share is slipping, begin your solve at the point where your product can actually be purchased. Build out a marketing strategy from that arena. Consider the competitive environment, and the wants/needs/desires of the consumer (typically a woman) who is purchasing the vast majority of your products. Get a keen understanding of what your competition is doing that’s hurting your sales. Form a strategy with key retailers, and give them a reason to believe that their bottom line will benefit from your brand’s marketing plan. If you start where you can sell and win the battles from that point outward, invariably you will have to spend less on advertising in the long run. And what you save on advertising can be invested in winning more often at retail.

Regardless (and sometimes in spite) of our own expert musings about the industry, the primary purpose of marketing never changes. We’re in business of selling products. If we don’t sell, we’ve failed. We can say that marketing is about awareness and traffic and click through rates and eyeballs and exposure and a host of other things, but nothing really matters if we’re not selling products or services. Corporations, brand managers and agencies don’t own brands, consumers do. A product or service is worth nothing until it is purchased. We need to deliver a compelling promise to consumers which rings loud and clear at the register before we claim victory.

Here’s hoping that G becomes Gatorade again, and Team Gatorade hones in on the battle at point of purchase. Well hydrated and filled with marketing savvy, Gatorade can once again be the undisputed sports beverage heavyweight champion. Until then, let’s all take a knee and pray for a resurrection.

Sarah O’Leary is the author of BRANDWASHED: What’s Wrong with Marketing and How We Can Fix it, due for publication in 2009. She is also the chief strategist of Logic Marketing for Sales (thelogicagency.com).

SEC Moves Closer To Banning Flash Orders

NEW YORK — The Securities and Exchange Commission is moving toward banning a trading practice that gives some brokerages a split-second advantage in buying or selling stocks.

SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro said in a statement Tuesday that the agency is working to create a rule to ban the trades known as flash orders.

Flash orders give certain members of exchanges including Nasdaq, Direct Edge and BATS the ability to buy and sell order information for milliseconds before that information is made public. High-speed computer software can take advantage of that brief period to allow those members to get better prices and profits.

“I have asked the staff for an approach that can be quickly implemented to eliminate the inequity that results from flash orders,” Schapiro said. Any proposal to eliminate the orders would still have to be approved by the entire commission and be open to public comment before being implemented.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a critic of the orders, said in a statement that Schapiro personally assured him the SEC would ban the practice. Last month, Schumer sent a letter to the SEC urging it to eliminate flash orders and said that if it didn’t, he would write legislation to do so.

Both Direct Edge and BATS said they would welcome any review of flash orders.

“We fully support an industry review,” said BATS spokesman Randy Williams. “We’re ready to discuss it if the SEC asks about it.”

Williams said BATS began offering flash orders for competitive reasons.

A spokeswoman for Nasdaq was not immediately available to comment on the potential ban.

Stiglitz On Bank Bailout: “We Got A Bad Deal” (VIDEO)

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz appeared on Yahoo’s Tech Ticker recently, and had some pointed words regarding the massive bank bailouts. Stiglitz, one of the bailout’s most strident critics, warned that we shouldn’t confuse the well-being of the larger economy with bank sector profits.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s reappointment, said Stiglitz, should be the subject of a “national debate.” Of the current regime of financial regulators and the billions poured into the U.S. banking sector, Stiglitz said, “Even if you thought their strategy was right, we got a bad deal [as taxpayers].”

He also argued that the Obama administration has still not figured out how the economy will be revived:

“There are so many people who think that if we get our financial markets back to health, the economy will recover. It’s probably necessary, but it’s clearly not going to be sufficient…Even after our banks are repaired they are not going to be lending in the irresponsible way they did before the crisis. We wouldn’t want them to.”




WATCH:





WATCH the full interview with Stiglitz at Yahoo Tech Ticker.

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Global Economy At Risk From Oil Price Rise: Financial Times

The world economy cannot sustain any further rise in the oil price, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist warned as oil prices rose toward a record high for the year.

Fatih Birol told the Financial Times that prices higher than about $70 could dampen a world economic recovery.

Jonathan Tisch: Beyond the Boardroom: 4 Lessons for Season 4

As a hotelier, I know a thing or two about having guests and one thing is generally true — they stay for a limited time. Well there was one occasion in my life when I was an invited guest…and I never left. In 2005, as I was finishing my first book tour for The Power of We, I got a phone call from the Plum TV network asking if I would be the guest on a pilot show they were developing where CEOs would be interviewed in a relaxed setting. “Sure, why not,” I answered, thinking additional exposure for my book’s message of succeeding through partnerships wouldn’t hurt.

On a snowy January day, we taped the interview in front of glowing fire at my friend’s well-regarded restaurant, The Laundry, in East Hampton. The interview seemed to have gone well and my intention was to simply send a thank you note to the show’s producers and look forward to watching. But about a month later, I got another phone call. The producers who edited the show had a new idea — they wanted me to be the host. Four years and some 30 CEOs later, Beyond the Boardroom with Jonathan Tisch, is still going strong.

Some of the early experiences were amusing. One of my favorite moments was when we had just finished a casual shoot at the Southampton home of Steve Ross, CEO of The Related Companies.

He looked at me and said, “That was great.”

And I looked at him and said, “Thanks. This is the first time I’ve ever done this.”

Yet, what was more unexpected than what started as this somewhat accidental experience of making television was the exceptional learning process that came my way as the show’s host. Beyond the Boardroom show has taken me on a professional journey in television but the human side of every business story has taken me on a personal one that has taught me a few things.

Starbucks founder and CEO Howard Schultz won my admiration. He was broke with an expectant wife and a father-in-law who wanted Howard to leave this coffee business dream of his and “get a real job.” Howard told me about an awful time in his life and his own resilience. He never quit and created the now global Starbucks franchise in the face of personal distress — an incredible human story. Howard also spoke of his passion for health care reform in that revealing Beyond the Boardroom interview, long before the national health care discourse permeated the American consciousness as it does today. Howard was out in front, a CEO leader in the private sector, with a vision for his company’s own version of universal health care.

CEO of NBC, Jeff Zucker, was extremely self-effacing in our conversation and told me that he had never really seen the Today Show when he accepted his first job on the broadcast at age 24 and that actually worked to his advantage as he had a fresh eye. Fresh enough that he eventually got the top job at Today and is credited with making it the successful franchise it is now. Our conversation revealed Jeff’s savvy personal judgment and acute business instincts, in addition, the importance of looking at something in a new way.

Dick Parsons made me think about leadership. As we sat in the beautiful new Time Warner Center (at the time he was Chairman and CEO) not that far from where he grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, it was clear he had taken lessons from the street and life and applied them to business. After a foolish bet playing poker in college caused him to lose his car, he learned a tough axiom that he practices today, “Never gamble what you can’t afford to lose,” Dick said. Something any manager or business school student might need to hear. He also invoked a famous quote when we spoke, “A good leader causes the people he is leading to believe in him or her. A great leader causes people to believe in themselves.”

And just last week, as we began taping episodes for our fourth season, we heard an inspiring lesson about “dreaming big.” I interviewed an accomplished executive with a big personality — from an industry where larger than life personas aren’t the norm. The CEO I spoke with is an insurance guy. Yes, insurance. He’s the Chairman and CEO of Willis Group Holdings Limited, one of the world’s most prominent insurance companies. Joseph Plumeri’s large yet grounded personality energized me and our entire crew when he spoke about the ability for anyone in this world to do anything. From the street corners in Trenton, N.J. where he grew up, to sitting at a desk half-wedged in a closet fetching coffee in Sandy Weil’s office during law school, all the way to the chairman’s office today. Joe doesn’t even think the sky is the limit. Literally. Two weeks ago, under Joe’s leadership, the Sears Tower in Chicago became the Willis Tower, the tallest building in the country. Joe believes in his work, calling insurance the DNA of capitalism referring to its linkage to every aspect of our lives. More importantly, he believes in himself and everyone around him. A contagious feeling I won’t soon forget.

There is no doubt we are living in a world today where CEOs are vilified, and in some cases, justifiably so. But there is also no doubt that what I have learned from Beyond the Boardroom is true as well: stories of guts, smarts, hard work and integrity in American business are still all around us.

For me, Beyond the Boardroom allows me to be on television (which I must admit I enjoy) but more meaningfully, through these interviews I continue to learn. In speaking with these talented leaders from diverse backgrounds and various industries, two consistent themes have emerged: 1) they wouldn’t be successful without the support and help of many people around them; and 2) there is no substitution for hard work.

It’s also been very gratifying when viewers come up to me — from young people just starting out, mid-level managers trying to get ahead, or executives at the pinnacle of their career — and tell me that by watching the program, they’ve learned about perseverance, instincts, leadership and people.

So what was supposed to be a half hour guest appearance has morphed into a bit of a side career for me. Another lesson, I suppose, that you never know where life will take you so be open-minded and seize opportunities as they present themselves.

Jonathan Tisch is Chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels, Co-Chairman of the Board for Loews Corp. and host of television’s Beyond the Boardroom with Jonathan Tisch. Beyond the Boardroom airs on Plum TV and on Fox Business Channel Sundays at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

Lissa Warren: A Raging Case of Memoiritis

At the publishing company where I work, we see a lot of book proposals — everything from vegan cookbooks to World War II histories to oral biographies of rock bands. We also see a lot of proposals for memoirs. Some of them are by celebrities, and while they tend not to be my personal cup of tea I can certainly see their merit — meaning, I can easily imagine a reader for them. But the proposals that puzzle me — the ones I see a lot of and simply do not “get” — are by people I’ve never heard of who have never done anything exceptional.

I know, I know. It sounds harsh. And I really don’t mean for it to. It’s just that I happen to hold the belief that, before writing a memoir, someone should actually do something that’s memoir-worthy — something spectacular, something unique; something that defied expectations or somehow beat the odds.

For example, the first book I ever acquired for publication, A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants, chronicled the experience of a half-Thai American man who left college in New England to go be a Buddhist monk for a rain season in his mother’s native village of Panomsarakram. Gorgeous prose aside, it caught my attention because, well, how many people do you know who have done such a thing?

One of the other things that made me want to sign that book was the author’s ability to write about his time in Thailand in a reflection-rich way — in a way that provided insight into what it’s like to feel part of two cultures yet never wholly part of either. Which brings me to my second point: A mere chronicle of the author’s experience is rarely enough for a memoir to succeed. Readers need a reason to care, and if the author isn’t a household name then the author’s ability to provide perspective is what becomes key.

In fact, every once in awhile a book provides so much perspective that the author’s “normal” life becomes a plus rather than a minus. I’m talking about books like Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place — a funny, sad, sweet little book where nothing really happens and yet everything important seems to. It captures so beautifully that time in your life when you’re buffered on both sides by family — by your children and your parents. Corrigan’s ability to understand her own life — and her ability to appreciate it — makes it stand out from other books in the genre. It’s all about her and her family, yet it’s the antithesis of the self-indulgent memoir that seems to be permeating bookstores these days. Call it, and others like it, the antidote to the raging case of memoiritis that seems to be sweeping the nation — or at least the country’s MFA programs.

What memoirs have you enjoyed recently, and why?

Sheldon Filger: Obama Versus JFK on Corporate Greed: A Telling Comparison

Amid the surreal and boastful bonuses the Wall Street tycoons have been paying themselves after being rescued by the American taxpayer from their own reckless follies, there is an eerie silence from the Obama administration. That this “they can eat cake” mentality flourishes among the financial elites while the economic catastrophe they engineered through their unmitigated and reckless greed sends the U.S. unemployment rate into double digits is an immoral affront to basic human decency. Yet, except for an occasional sermon on corporate excess in a time of profound economic crisis, President Barack Obama has thus far failed to exercise decisive leadership and put a line in the sand on this defining question. To paraphrase a former Republican presidential candidate, where is the outrage?

In 1962 President John F. Kennedy was also confronted with corporate greed and excess. However, in sharp contrast with Obama, he demonstrated both moral outrage and decisive leadership. Does anyone remember when JFK took on the excess greed of the U.S. steel industry? It is instructive to look back nearly half a century ago.

In the second year of his administration, President Kennedy faced two wars, just as Obama reminds us constantly he is currently confronted with. True, only one was hot, in Southeast Asia, while the other conflict was referred to as the Cold War. Yet the Cold War posed a serious threat to the United States of nuclear extinction, a danger that came perilously close to reality later that year during the Cuban missile crisis. Prior to that, the danger of a military confrontation with the Soviet Union over Berlin was very real. All these factors required compulsory military service for hundreds of thousands of Americans, and vast expenditures on national defense. This was all occurring at a time of economic crisis, requiring the Kennedy administration to confront both recessionary and inflationary pressures. To prevent prices from spiraling out of control, the President sought the cooperation of both labor and management in key areas of the U.S. economy in order to keep the lid on prices. This was important both in terms of preserving the American standard of living at home, while promoting U.S. exports abroad. A major test case for the Kennedy administration was the U.S. steel industry, where large price increases, should they occur, would have a highly negative ripple effect throughout the U.S. economy.

President Kennedy personally intervened in the question over price hikes for steel. His first step was to obtain concessions from the steel unions. He was successful in winning agreement for a new union contract that would have no effect on steel prices, taking into account both wages and productivity. Kennedy expected management to now do its part. Instead, first U.S. Steel, the nation’s largest steel producer, followed by its competitors, announced a substantial rise in steel prices. This action, if left unchallenged, would clearly have unleashed a damaging bout of inflationary pressures throughout the economy.

JFK was outraged. He decided to take action, and bring his voice on the importance of the issue directly to the American people. He conducted a news conference, and in his opening statement he did not mince words. Kennedy said:

Simultaneous and identical actions of United States Steel and other leading steel corporations increasing steel prices by some $6 a ton constitute a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest. In this serious hour in our nation’s history when we are confronted with grave crises in Berlin and Southeast Asia, when we are devoting our energies to economic recovery and stability, when we are asking reservists to leave their homes and their families for months on end and servicemen to risk their lives — and four were killed in the last two days in Vietnam — and asking union members to hold down their wage requests at a time when restraint and sacrifice are being asked of every citizen, the American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans. If this rise in the cost of steel is imitated by the rest of the industry, instead of rescinded, it would increase the cost of homes, autos, appliances, and most other items for every American family. It would increase the cost of machinery and tools to every American businessman and farmer. It would seriously handicap our efforts to prevent an inflationary spiral from eating up the pensions of our older citizens, and our new gains in purchasing power….The Steelworkers Union can be proud that it abided by its responsibilities in this agreement, and this Government also has responsibilities which we intend to meet. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are examining the significance of this action in a free, competitive economy. The Department of Defence and other agencies are reviewing its impact on their policies of procurement. And I am informed that steps are underway by those members of the Congress who plan appropriate inquiries into how these price decisions are so quickly made and reached and what legislative safeguards may be needed to protect the public interest. Price and wage decisions in this country, except for a very limited restriction in the case of monopolies and national emergency strikes, are and ought to be freely and privately made. But the American people have a right to expect, in return for that freedom, a higher sense of business responsibility for the welfare of their country than has been shown in the last 2 days. Some time ago I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country and I asked the steel companies. In the last 24 hours we had their answer.

The leadership Kennedy demonstrated back in 1962 shamed the senior executives of the steel industry, leading them to rescind their unwarranted price increase. Afterwards, JFK is said to have remarked, “my father told me businessmen were SOBs. I didn’t believe him, until now.”

In the past six months, President Obama has revealed his towering intellect, basic decency and sophisticated world view. However, we have yet to observe the toughness and passion required to take on the forces that drove the U.S. and global economy into a ditch. Except for periodic and overly-mild rebukes, we have witnessed excessive conciliation that is underserved. I hope I will be proven wrong, but despite initial hopes by many that President Obama would become the “Black Kennedy,” more and more I am reminded of what the late Senator Lloyd Bentsen once told Senator Quayle during the Vice Presidential debate back in 1988: “You’re no John Kennedy.”

Bollywood Stars Compete With Hollywood For The Big Earnings

Forbes annually publishes its top celebrities list based on earnings and visibility. Top Hollywood earners make more than $100 million dollars annually. But how does its Bollywood brethren fair?

Depends on how you calculate earnings. India’s most talented earns a tenth of that – according to the list of top income tax payers. India’s top four actors paid $10mn in advance tax in 2009. Industry favorite Akshay Kumar paid $4mn in taxes and Bollywood King Shah Rukh Khan paid $3mn. Third on the list is superstar Hrthik Roshan, who paid $2mn followed by Aamir Khan who paid $1.3mn.

If advance tax receipts are accurate, it means that Akshay earned approximately $12mn last year, Shah Rukh Khan earned $9mn, Hrthik Roshan, $6mn and Aamir Khan, $4mn.

However, advance taxes often understate how much Bollywood stars actually pay as they are only an indication of the total income of a person. Bollywood stars have three major sources of income: (1) movies (2) endorsements (3) TV shows. And endorsements, for many, yield much more income than the movies.

Bollywood stars promote anywhere from 10 to 15 products a year and top stars make +$1mn per endorsement. Cola companies line up at the feet of Bollywood Stars with Coca-Cola and Pepsi paying top dollars for an endorsement. Not far behind, are the telecom companies who also shell out big bucks. These endorsements earn Bollywood stars more than movies.

Akshay Kumar endorses approximately 10 products at any given time. Conservatively, from his endorsements alone, Akshay makes $10mn. Add his salary from his movies, which averages $4mn per movie, and he makes an additional $12mn a year (given that he makes +3 movies a year). Finally, like many top bollywood stars, Akshay is on television. He is earning approximately $500k per episode as an anchor on the Indian version of Fear Factor. All in all, he is going to clear $20mn from the reality show for its forty episode run. That mean’s Akshay’s total earnings are $40mn dollars a year.

But that’s not all Akshay earns in India, where Purchasing Power Parity (PPT) means that his earnings go along away. Take the standard PPT ratio of 5:1 and Akshay Kumar earns more than $200mn per year-adjusted dollars – more than any Hollywood Star.

Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan (also known as the King of Bollywood) are the two other movie stars who are doing the Bollywood trifecta: (1) movies (2) TV and (3) endorsements. A similar analysis of Shahrukh’s pay would find him earning more than $50mn (in his top years). That’s how the King of Bollywood can afford to pay a reported $30mn for a new house in London.

Bollywood stars aren’t showing up in the Forbes list, but they should be.

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John Wellington Ennis: Hitler Finds Out United Breaks Guitars

In the ensuing viral wave from Dave Carroll’s YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars,” and its impressive impact on United Airlines, the full meme experience is not complete without yet another re-edit of Hitler losing it from the movie Downfall.

For the uninitiated, this movie scene has been re-subtitled many times to show Hitler blowing up over losing his saved games on Play Station 3, because the ending of Watchmen was changed from the comic, and upon hearing that Michael Jackson died. It has even been the topic of its own mashups.