Industry’s midyear reality check

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

We’re at that critical point in the year when it will soon become apparent just how bad or how much better things are going to get.
Public companies will fess up during the coming months, issuing warnings to investors about falling short of their 2001 profit and revenue targets. Some companies, rather than admitting defeat, will launch into another round of cost cutting or asset sales to make their original numbers work.
The Wall Street skeptics say they expect things to generally get worse before they improve.
But if this year of volatility and uncertainty has taught us anything, it is that there isn’t much that’s simply black and white. Too many variables determine how a company’s financial numbers are going to turn out for the quarter or for the year. There are many ways to package and analyze numbers to present a picture of whether the glass is half empty or half full.
If the first-quarter earnings reports are any indication, broadcast, cable, content and other media companies will be making a lot more adjustments this year as they weather the economic lull and begin the 2002 budgeting process.
But anyone who thinks 2002 will be “business as usual” just because of elections and Olympic Games is kidding themselves.
The early rollout of a broadband market will begin taking hold next year. The broader redefinition of advertising will accelerate, extending to interactive information and transactions that will generate new revenues and interest.
Those two transforming developments alone will mean that nothing’s going to be the same as it was, which is why a midyear reality check on other key forces at work is in order:
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