If you're feeling good about the market, you're not alone. Take my hand as we go over some of this week's more uplifting headlines.
"The playground is open," read the subtle animated ad just below Google.com's search box. Clicking on the tablet would take visitors to an information and ordering page for the $199 tablet.
The world's leading search engine has been generating plenty of buzz for its Android-fueled tablet this summer. However, Google knows hype is never permanent. The country's tech giants have press events scheduled in the next two weeks, and at least one of them will be introducing a new tablet. This makes Big G's marketing move all the more shrewd.
It may have to resort to different tactics to get noticed as we close in on holiday shopping, but this attention-grabbing ploy works nicely for now.
Dutch electronic-dance music producer Tiesto is embarking on a 15-campus college tour in October. There will be a contest at every show where the winner will receive concert tickets and host a one-hour show that will air on Tiesto's Club Life Radio channel. A winner from the 15 entries will then go on to host a show on the channel for the next six months.
If you've never heard of Tiesto's Club Life Radio, you're not alone. It's a channel that is available on either the new Sirius XM 2.0 receivers or through an Internet streaming subscription.
The obscurity of the station is also what makes this so brilliant for Sirius XM. The satellite radio provider has an electronica music celebrity touring universities for a contest that promotes Sirius XM's fledgling streaming content.
You know how college students aren't buying cars the way they used to? Sirius XM is reaching out to the streaming generation, which may be years away from owning satellite receivers, with a way to subscribe now.
Nice move, Sirius.
3. Pandora's box actually held a nice surprise
Shares of Pandora Media (NYSE: P ) soared 14% on Thursday after posting better-than-expected quarterly results.
We already knew that Pandora is streaming more than a billion hours per month of music and comedy to its 54.9 million active users. What we didn't know until this week's report was that revenue spiked 51% to $101.3 million. Back out stock-based compensation expenses, and Pandora would have posted breakeven results. Analysts were banking on an adjusted deficit.
Pandora has now come through with adjusted profitability in three of its past five quarters, and guidance calls for that streak to stretch to four out of six in three months.
There will definitely be challenges to Pandora and its model in the future, but it seems to be holding up reasonably well right now.
4. Electric cars are turning Japanese
Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA ) has its sights set on Japan.
The attention-grabbing maker of electric cars is telling the Nikkei Business Daily that it plans to introduce its Model S in Japan during the first half of next year.
Tesla introduced the Model S domestically this summer, and thousands of eventual buyers have put down their $5,000 deposits to secure a place in line. Tesla will likely ramp up production to help meet overseas demand, and that can only be a good thing for Tesla and its shareholders.
5. Netflix plays a game of thrones
It didn't take long for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) CEO Reed Hastings to voice his opinion about HBO's decision to compete head-on with Netflix in Scandinavia with HBO's first stand-alone streaming service.
"Excited to see HBO join us in offering stand-alone streaming service in Scandinavia," he posted shortly after Thursday's HBO press conference. "What about the USA?"
This may seem like a bold suggestion. All but 3.6 million of Netflix's more than 30 million subscribers are in the United States. Does Hastings really want the premium movie channel to offer its HBO Go service domestically without forcing subscribers to pay for expensive cable and satellite television programs as well?
Yes. For starters, the move would expose HBO's limited programming and out-of-whack pricing relative to Netflix's $7.99 monthly rate. It would also probably encourage many of the roughly 100 million cable and satellite TV customers to put an end to their costly cable bills, choosing perhaps to pair up an HBO subscription with a Netflix account. However, perhaps more importantly, it would force pay TV providers to consider adding Netflix as a premium content offering. If HBO is no longer loyal to the providers, they would have no problem warming up to Netflix.