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Showing posts from February, 2010

HONOLULU JOINS THE RANKS OF NEWSPAPER MONOPOLY CITIES

I was sorting through some of my father’s belonging recently and came across the 1941 souvenir edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Jan 8, 1941), “The March of Hawaii.” Its lead story was the reorganization and strengthening of the Pacific Fleet and the appointment of Admiral H.E. Kimmel to head it.

My father acquired the paper while stationed in Hawaii with the Army Air Corps. Eleven months later the U.S. was at war, with Kimmel taking heat for having the bulk of his capital ships anchored in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack.

I was reminded of the find this week while reading the news that Gannett has agreed to sell the Honolulu Advertiser to the Star-Bulletin. The two have a 130-year history of competition, somewhat muffled until they escaped their relatively difficult marriage in a joint operating agreement between 1960s and the millennium. Now the smaller paper is buying the bigger paper, if it can comply with or skirt antitrust provisions.

We are now in the last throes of …

THE BATTLE TO CONTROL ONLINE PRICES

The struggle to control prices of digital content sold online continues, with producers and distributors battling over prices for downloads of books and music.

In the latest skirmish, Amazon removed Macmillan books from its website after the company protested that online retail was using monopoly power to force publishers to accept prices no higher than $9.99. Macmillan and other publishers have now signed distribution deals with Apple that allows them to price downloads at $12.99 and $14.99.

Producers, of course, want higher prices because they produce higher revenue and better profits.

The struggle to control prices is not unique to the online environment. In the offline world, producers of books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs have long struggled to gain limited shelf space because there is a large oversupply of products and retailers’ have selection preferences for popular, rapidly selling products.

Large national and retailers have also used their bargaining power to push wholesale and …