Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Capuccino Blog - Newsprint, Coffeeshop Music and Tech Conundrums

I was going to write something deep and insightful about the future of the newsprint industry, in context of digital convergence, but its way too late already - well past my bedtime. So let me give you the capuccino blog instead.

To start with Paul McCartney has signed up for Starbucks Music label. My thoughts (1) not like the music labels didn't have enough worries than to have to also compete with coffee shops. (2) nice one by Starbucks but no prizes for spotting talent early! (3) Don't really have a 3 but its nice to have lists of 3 - because less than that should really be a sentence and not a list. Oh wait, I do have a 3 - Starbucks has done quite well with their Hear Music label - and they do have excellent taste in music - going by what they play in the stores.

On another note, here's a technology conundrum - my laptop no longer catches my wireless signal if I sit in bed and hold it straight - as you would expect me to, to type. The Wifi router is at the corner of the room, next to the window 8 feet away. If I turn the laptop by around 30 degrees or more along any axis, but ideally on a vertical axis, then the wireless signal works fine. Short of that I have to click on a link and lift and turn the laptop so it can "catch" the link. Its a throwback to 25 year ago and listening to sports commentary on little AM transistor radios.

Back then to Newsprint. Quick summary - demand continues to shrink. Consolidation is in the offing. Prices have actually gone up significantly over the last few years thanks to the consolidation, though its currently dropping in the face of shrinking demand. Chinese Newsprint is likely to make inroads over the next few years. Operating costs of players like Catalyst have been trimmed as far as they will go. Newsprint, as I've discovered is almost totally recycled. UK Newspapers have been ahead of commitments in recycling numbers - some 80% of UK Newspapers currently use recycled paper - so the millions of free newspapers on the tube every evening does not apparently constitute an environmental disaster. But its a scary place to be - in the newsprint industry - along with staff costs this is the biggest cost for newspapers. And ePaper is on the way, from companies like Fujitsu. There, I've done it. Detailed version to follow.


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