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Amazon, Wal-Mart Join Apple on Variable Pricing: MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer April 8, 2009

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Amazon and Wal-Mart have joined Apple in variable pricing for music downloads. While some consumers are angry with the digital retailers, it is the record companies, not the retailers, who were pushing for tiered pricing.

Blockbuster revealed to the SEC that it may not have enough capital to continue operating retail stores. Substantial debt and lack of ability to meet the terms of a $250 million loan, which matures in 2010, have seriously damaged Blockbuster's already frail financial foundation. In addition, attempts at catching up to Netflix's mail order business and it's on-demand service have also faltered.

In response to the AP's recent content protection initiative, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told executives at the Newspaper Association of America's national conference "to figure out what your consumer wants...If you upset enough of them, you will not have any of them." Schmidt, who was speaking to newspaper execs for the first time, also noted that "We think we can build a business with you...That is the only solution we can see."

Australia announced that it will spend $31 billion to build one of the largest government sponsored broadband grids in the world. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd noted that the project, which will take eight years to complete, will create up to 37,000 jobs. This is exactly the type of broadband infrastructure the United States needs to create jobs and the strengthen the economy.

UNC's victory over Michigan State took in a 6.3 rating and 16 share of the lucrative 18-49 demographic. While ratings were high and helped CBS dominate Monday night, they fell 14% year over year. Analysts attribute the lose in ratings to the Tarheel's blow out of the Spartans, as young males flocked to NBC's Chuck and non-sports households hit up House, which took in a 5.1/13.

Shelly Palmer is a consultant and the host of MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer a daily show featuring news you can use about technology, media & entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press) and the upcoming, Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy (2009, Lake House Press). Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy Awards). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at For information about Get Digital Classes, visit