Category: Business Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil
CHERYL PEARSON McNEIL
(NNPA)—Remember back-in-the-day when you used to poke your mouth out, bug your parents (or whatever adult was in charge) about being bored? Well, today’s kids can’t use that tired, old excuse. Neither can we, as grown folks, for that matter.
We’ve been spoiled rotten and have access to endless entertainment options at our fingertips, 24/7. So, I’m excited to share with you insights from Nielsen’s first-ever Entertainment Consumer Report, which breaks down, in detail, the myriad of ways we are entertained—whether it’s game playing, watching movies or other video content, listening to music or reading a book. As entertainment consumers, we fall into three categories: high, moderate and low entertainment spenders. Although just one-third of the population qualifies as high entertainment spenders, they account for more than 70 percent of entertainment spending. This segment of spenders are more likely to be ethnically diverse and women with young children than moderate and low entertainment spenders. Makes perfect sense to me since moms are usually the ones charged with keeping the kids occupied.
When it comes to how we listen music, long gone are the days portrayed in the musicals “Cadillac Records” and “Dream Girls.” But wait. Though digital music leads overall music sales with 118 million digital albums and 1.3 billion tracks purchased last year, the sales of old-school vinyl LPs jumped nearly 18 percent over the last year. As the saying goes, “everything old is new again.” We make up 12 percent of on-demand music streamers. And, although all age groups enjoy music across all platforms, young adults between 18 and 24 spend the most time listening to music, about six hours a week, which is an hour more than those 25 and up.
Switching gears to what and how we watch video content at home, well, the sky is pretty much the limit with multiple devices to choose from. Some examples of those are: DVR/Blu-Ray, video-on-demand, plus subscriber services like Netfilx and/or Hulu. There are also video game consoles, computers, tablets and/or mobile devices. Here are some quick facts:
25-34 year olds are the biggest buyers of movie/TV DVDs and streaming video.
African-Americans index lower than other demographics in movie/TV DVD and streaming video purchases.
Females index higher than males in movie/TV DVD purchase, while men outrank women when it comes to buying streaming video.
What are some other forms of entertainment we have available to us? Well, I am glad you asked. Some, like me, still love the feel of a good book in your hands. But, I know some of you may also appreciate the convenience of e-readers. Turns out, there’s not much difference between print and eBook buyers.
Among adults online surveyed in this report, both groups of readers are more likely females between the ages of 55 and 64. African-Americans index slightly higher with purchasing eBooks than print books. Can you guess at our favorite books from last year? If you guessed E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, followed by Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games series, you were correct. Case in point: “The Hunger Games,” which was also a box office success, was the fourth best selling print book of 2012, the top selling music soundtrack and the third most-purchased DVD.
So now you see even how your various entertainment preferences matter.
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Last Updated on Friday, 31 May 2013 10:05
Category: Business Written by Charlene Crowell
(NNPA)—A few days ago, HUD released data showing that more 620,000 troubled homeowners received more than $50 billion in principal reductions and savings. These actions were the direct result of the National Mortgage Settlement, negotiated by America’s largest banks, state Attorneys General, and the Obama administration. Despite this success, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that 13.2 million mortgages remain underwater, which is defined as owing more than the homes are now worth.
Earlier this year, the Center for Responsible Lending and its ally Consumers Union jointly offered state policy remedies known as Homeowner Bills of Rights that would protect homeowners, further reduce foreclosures and stabilize local housing markets. Key to these state initiatives is that homeowners gain a private right of action and the right to halt a foreclosure sale when a servicer breaks the law. The foreclosure cannot proceed until the servicer complies with the law. Other HBOR recommendations called for lawmakers to:
Ban “dual-tracking,” the practice by mortgage servicers of pursuing foreclosures while at the same time processing a request for a loan modification;
Require lenders to establish straightforward timelines, clear procedures for homeowner outreach, detailed denial notices and an affidavit detailing the homeowner’s rights to appeal; and
Require lenders to engage in loss mitigation activities to prevent avoidable foreclosures.
For communities of color, where the economic recovery has yet to be felt, HBORs are particularly important because of well-documented disparities in foreclosures. For example, Black Floridians risk of imminent foreclosures is doubled that projected for the entire state.
Earlier research by the Center for Responsible Lending found that more than half (52 percent) of the lost wealth resulting from living in close proximity to foreclosures was borne by minority census tract homeowners. In the District of Columbia and seven states—California, Florida, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey and New York—an even greater share of lost wealth occurred in minority communities.
Additionally, African-Americans remain at a higher imminent risk of more foreclosures in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Illinois.
Several states have worked to advance HBOR reforms, including California, Minnesota and Nevada. California, the first state to enact an HBOR, took effect in January with a private right of action and rules for servicers foreclosing. In cases where the homeowners prevailed in legal disputes, the lender may become responsible for attorney fees and court costs.
Already, a California court recently ruled in favor of a state homeowner. A preliminary injunction halted foreclosure proceedings in the case of Singh v. Bank of America where the lender dual-tracked the homeowner.
In Minnesota, where there were three times more foreclosures in 2012 than in 2005, their HBOR gives borrowers a private right of action to stop a wrongful foreclosure sale. Through a bipartisan effort, the state’s House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill. With a companion version having already passed in the state’s Senate, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to soon sign the measure into law.
In Nevada, a bill similar to that of California, aims to codify a single-point-of-contact with servicers, require civil penalties for banks that violate default procedures, and give borrowers a private right of action. The bill unanimously passed the state’s Senate and now awaits a vote in the Nevada Assembly.
Hopefully more states will embrace the emergence of HBORs. In a recent blog, Tracy Van Slyke, director of the New Bottom Line, summed up the status of economic recovery: “This work is not just about righting past wrongs. It’s also about the future of our retirement, our kids’ lives, and the kind of communities we want to live in and about our country’s economic future.”
(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.email@example.com.)
Last Updated on Friday, 31 May 2013 10:03
Category: Business Written by Candice Choi- AP Food Industry Writer
MCDONALD CORP.'S CEO DON THOMPSON
NEW YORK (AP) — They might start calling it the McDiet.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 16:20
Category: Business Written by Diane I. Daniels - Courier Business Writer
IT’S NOT TO LATE—Nationally syndicated columnist, Michelle Singletary makes a point during the 10th Annual “Money Matters” investor education conference. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
No matter what your age, according to financial expert Michelle Singletary, it is not too late to start saving.
“Financial decisions can have long-lasting effects,” she said pointing out that it does not matter if you are a child, in college, planning for marriage, raising a family or ready for retirement.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 17:10
Category: Business Written by James Clingman
(NNPA)—Frederick Douglass’ words—“Power concedes nothing without a demand”—have been haunting me lately, because of the pressing issues we face in today’s political world, the dire economic straits in which many of our families find themselves, and the ever-present social problems Black people deal with every day. The key word in that admonishment is demand.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 May 2013 09:47
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