Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: The G2. China and America: the political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that Russia and America would dominate the 20th century. The 21st, however, belongs -- at least the first half -- to America and China. As Chinese officials meet with Obama administration officials, already agreements on climate change and clean energy technology have been signed, building upon the U.S.-China 10-Year Framework for Energy Environment Cooperation. Now that the light lifting out of the way, Secretary Hillary Clinton and Secretary Tim Geithner will try to adress imbalances in the "Chimerica" relationship. From Foreign Policy:

"Tomorrow kicks off the first meeting of the U.S. China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the Obama administration's twist on a process started under former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. That process, known as the Strategic Economic Dialogue (no 'and'), was primarily intended to address bilateral economic issues such as the dollar-renminbi exchange rate.

"The two countries -- which have become known as the 'G-2' in foreign-policy circles due to their preeminent size and geopolitical reach -- will still be tackling economic issues like the global financial crisis. But this time, a State Department official tells Foreign Policy, the agenda is 'much broader and more comprehensive,' encompassing global issues such as climate change, and regional ones such as North Korea, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

"Two top-ranking Chinese officials, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, will be in Washington for meetings Monday and Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has just returned from meetings in India and Thailand.

"'Simply put, few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone,' the two secretaries write in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published online Sunday. 'And few can be solved without the U.S. and China together.'"

Out: Sumner Redstone. Miracle elixir or not, the Methuselan Sumner Redstone will want to be sitting down when he gets the news that Viacom's second quarter profits were down thirty two percent. Philippe Dauman considers getting higher ratings at MTV a "strong priority," but does anyone -- even kids -- watch MTV? From FT:

"Viacom’s profit fell 32 per cent as a prolonged advertising decline and a steep drop in sales of its Rock Band video game continued to hurt the cable and films company.

"Although Viacom reported US advertising falling 6 per cent, a rate of decline that had moderated during the period compared to the first quarter, losses in other areas including an operating loss of $25m from weaker box office and DVD sales and the timing of the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen hurt profits.

"The company that owns the MTV Networks and Paramount movie studios said its second quarter net income fell to $277m, or 46 cents per share, from $406m, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier.

"Revenue fell 14 per cent to $3.3bn."

These are not good times for the Chairman of Viacom. Yesterday was embroiled in another one of his many familial feuds that we have come to expect from him over the years. Redtsone started a three-day trial in Boston to determine how much his nephew, Michael, is owed based on a trust with shares in National Amusements left to him by Sumner's father, Mickey. At post time Viacom shares are down 0.55% or 0.14 at $24.46 a share.

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