Award Winning Blog

Friday, November 27, 2020

Academic Award Tombstone Just Like Deal Closing Collectible

             Years ago, when I worked as a lowly Associate at private communications law firms, I pondered the meaning of Partners’ small Lucite tombstones commemorating an initial public stock offering, or the closing of a financing or acquisition deal. 

             Some Associates may have gotten a tombstone, but I never did . . . until quite recently.

             In the mail this week I received a tombstone commemorating my first place academic paper at the 2020 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, Law Division annual conference.

             Just now, I am reminded of vanity and the psychology concept of cognitive dissonance: how lawyers and academics alike toil endlessly for meaning and validation.  

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Why Would a Fundamental Economic “Rule” Not Apply?

Textbook economics doctrine considers gospel truth the need for sellers to reduce the price of a product or service when demand shrinks, or supply increases.  Even as downward prices may be sluggish and sticky, a new equilibrium eventually settles at a lower price.

O.K. we get this: the fundamental interaction of supply and demand.  For example, gasoline prices drop when supply increases, e.g., from fracking, and when demand drops, e.g., when a pandemic thwarts private and commercial travel.

How and why would AT&T consider itself exempt from the absolutism by raising rates despite substantially reduced demand generated by new, cheaper competitive alternatives, cord cutting and cord shaving? See

Perhaps AT&T, like Comcast, has assessed the premium television market and expects substantial reduction in the total number of subscribers, but with retention of a core audience with greater tolerance for price increases.  I cannot see AT&T purposefully reducing subscribers at a time when it seeks a buyer, unless it does not care about price sensitive consumers.

There are market countervailing marketing strategies such as the decision by a perfume vendor to raise price perhaps to make the product appear more exclusive and upscale.  In this scenario—if actually true—the perfumer strives to brand differentiate and join the exclusive ranks of the top shelf vendors.  I do not see  how AT&T can make its content exclusive and super-premium, because the company has both statutory duties and Time Warner-merger conditions requiring it to provide access even for its “must see” programming such as HBO and CNN.  

Establishing a $130 monthly subscription rate does not strike me as a winning proposition, but then again how did skinny bundles get so pricy?