Explaining Southern California's economy

LA Times parent Tribune Publishing's stock loses 4.4 percent on 1st day

Tribune Media/ Tribune Publishing

Courtesy Tribune.com

Tribune Media and Tribune Publishing unveiled new, separate logos Monday, August 4, 2014, as the Tribune Company spun off its newspaper holdings into a separate organization.

On its first day of trading, the stock of Tribune Publishing Co. — the newly spun-off newspaper company that owns the Los Angeles Times — closed down 4.4 percent Tuesday, giving the company a value of about $537 million.

One day after its spinoff from Tribune Co. — which became Tribune Media — Tribune Publishing stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Tribune  reported:

The stock lost 97 cents to close at $21.15 on volume of more than 821,000 shares. That places a value of about $537 million on the stand-alone publishing company, which trades under the symbol TPUB.

The stock began the day valued at $22.12 per share. By 11 a.m. Pacific Time, it had fallen 72 cents, or 3.25. percent.


LAX could set passenger record in 2014

Holiday fares

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Travelers wait in line to have their boarding passes checked at a security screening area of American Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on November 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles International Airport is on track to break a record this year for airline passenger traffic. 

Airport officials report that during the first six months of 2014, LAX saw 34,336,315 passengers,  a 6.5 percent increase over the  32,217,517 during the same period last year. If the upward trend continues or strengthens for the rest of the year, the airport could top 70 million travelers.

LAX's annual passenger record stands at 67,303,182 -- set in 2000, and since then the numbers have fallen and risen in response to world events.  The 9/11 attacks contributed to lower numbers in 2001 and 2002.  The outbreak of SARS took them down again in 2003.  They began climbing again in 2004, only to be knocked back again by the Great Recession in 2008.   But since 2009, the ascent has been steady. 


The LA 'sports tax': $312 a year, whether you ever watch a game or not?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

If you don't watch sports, you're paying alot of money for channels you don't need, especially in the Los Angeles-area.

Cable and satellite television bills are expensive, and a big reason why is sports channels like ESPN that command high carriage fees.

If you don't watch sports, you're paying alot of money for channels you don't need.

But just how much? The New York Times estimated in 2011 American cable customers spend $100 a year on sports channels.

In L.A. that number is likely way too low, because of the proliferation of regional sports networks  (RSN's) here, seven in all. 

In a conference call with analysts following the release of DirecTV's second-quarter earnings Thursday, DirecTV CEO Mike White said his million-plus L.A. subscribers would be paying $312 a year to watch their hometown teams if they all demanded terms as rich as the Lakers and the Dodgers, which both started their own RSN's operated by Time Warner Cable.


Ontario Airport officials are cautiously hopeful about rise in passenger numbers

L.A./Ontario International Airport

David McNew/Getty Images

L.A./ Ontario International Airport.

For the first time since the Great Recession, L.A./Ontario International Airport is seeing a rise in passenger traffic. But airport officials are only cautiously optimistic about what the rise means. 

From January through June of this year, 2,002,789 travelers flew through the airport known as ONT, a 1.8 percent increase over the 1,967,223 passengers during the same period last year.  It's only a slight rise, but for an airport that has seen traffic fall by more than 40 percent since 2007, it's a move in the right direction.

"We’re pleasantly surprised and we will take those numbers," airport manager Jess Romo told KPCC. "What that’s telling us is that folks are starting to travel more than they had been in the past in spite of fewer seats available."    

Romo explained that there are fewer seats available because the airlines have continued to cut them. In the first years after the recession hit, the airlines reduced seat numbers at ONT by eliminating flights, but in recent years, Romo said, the airlines have cut seats by switching to smaller airplanes. 


California's US reps urge state to extend film tax incentives, but others ask 'Why?'


Some real members of Congress from California are urging the state to put more money into competing for productions like the Netflix show "House Of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey.

As 29 members of California's Congressional delegation signed a letter urging state legislative leaders to reauthorize and enhance the state's film and TV production tax incentive program, others are questioning whether such industry-specific measures are a good idea.  

At issue is a bill to extend the credits, AB 1839, which has made its way through the California Assembly and is awaiting consideration by the state Senate Appropriations committee as early as next week. California's current tax credit program is set to expire next year.

Several members of Congress, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), signed a a letter to State Senate President Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins:

"As you consider reauthorizing the existing credit, we urge you to enhance it to be more nationally competitive. Among the enhancements to the current credit that would help are substantially increasing the overall pot allotted, raising the cap that prevents blockbuster films from competing, and allowing hour long television dramas to qualify for the credit."