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My two cents.

This is a review of the yet to be written book Great Fortunes.. What Film 8 71/Firms Are Making Today, by Jim Brean (For Real Books Publishing Co., 20 pages), an out of work consultant.

The author's premise is that today's mantra seems to be "These are tough times!" It is clear that while the writer fully understands the industry, he nevertheless challenges the notion that business is getting tough.

Using data from the Veronis, Suhler and Assoc. reports, Mr. Brean compares today's business environment with the relatively easygoing times of 1989. Revenue of U.S. public filmed entertainment companies was $12 billion in 1989. Five years later it was estimated at $17 billion; the return on assets for these companies was 4.5 per cent. It is not unusual to see companies today with annual growth rates of 15 to 20 per cent.

Quoting various studies, Mr. Brean reports that advertising TV expenditures in the world's nine key countries was $50 billion in 1989, compared to an estimated s70 billion in 1993. Television's share of advertising expenditures is to reach 34 per cent this year, versus 33 per cent in 1989. The book goes on and on charting the tremendous growth of television and its bright future. Since Mr. Brean could have made the point without boring the reader with such an avalanche of data, suffice it to say that in 1989 just 692 companies attended MIP-TV, compared to 803 this year. During the past four years. at least 20 new TV broadcast networks and 40 cable/satellite TV services have started operating in various parts of the world. Since 1989, the number of transmitted TV hours has increased some 60 per cent.

Then abruptly Mr. Brean pops the question: "Why are these people complaining?" In a simple prose, which is kept candid throughout the book. It's a bit monotonous at times, Hr. Brean guesses that they are complaining about pressure, not the business itself.

According to Mr. Brean, this pressure is applied mainly in four ways. Shareholders: "These guys want to see more bang for their buck," he writes (i.e. more dividends), therefore managers have to worry more about saving it, than making it. Management: Ever since companies were taken over by bean-counters, the nit-picking is a constant factor. At this point Mr. Brean quotes Robert J. Samuelson who wrote in Newsweek,: "The style of running big companies changed for the worse. The belief that all problems could be solved by analysis favored the rise of executives who were adept with numbers and making slick presentations. Huge staffs of analysts served these executives, who created conglomerates on the theory that a good manager could manage anything."

Mr. Brean also cites all those "hip" Wall Street refugees who are driving the former hippies (i.e. current TV executives) crazy. "Just think," writes Mr. Brean, "the only thing that has changed in one generation is a 'p-i-e': from hippie to hip!" "Finally," he concludes, "they complain because of something that has been felt only recently: Competition. Unfortunately, this is seen as pressure rather than a challenge."
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Jim Brean on the filmed entertainment business
Author:Serafini, Dom
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Words:518
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