Friday, December 15, 2006

iTunes sales down 58%, iTunes sales up 84%, WTF?!

From Slashdot:
Earlier this month we had a report from Forrester, based on a random sampling of 2,000 credit card accounts, that purported to show that iTunes sales were crashing. Now comes another survey from Reston, VA-based ComScore which indicates the exact opposite. ComScore's report which is based on actual iTunes sales shows a 84% increase during the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile the author of the Forrester report, Josh Bernoff, noted in his blog yesterday that they shouldn't be pummeled just because everyone took what he wrote and ran with it.
From ArsTechnica:
A couple of days ago, Infinite Loop reported on a research note from Forrester Research which said that Apple's music sales were slowing and that sales of the company's venerable iPod were failing to drive downloads from the iTunes Store. Two days after Forrester's report, investment firm Piper Jaffray has released its own report saying that no, the iTunes Store is doing just fine in terms of growth.

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says that through September, iTunes Store weekly sales are up 78 percent from 2005. Munster's report is based on Apple company data, according to Reuters, and shows that Apple sold 695 million tracks through September, a total of 18.5 million per week.

In contrast, Forrester's figures come from a analysis of credit and debit card purchases from the iTunes Store, made over a 26-month period ending in June 2006. From April 2004 through January 2006, Apple saw a seven-fold increase in transactions, according to Forrester, with the average transaction size growing to $6.69 from $3.55. Since the beginning of the year, the number of transactions has fallen by 58 percent, with the average transaction size dropping to $5.56. Only 3 percent of US Internet-using households made purchases at the iTunes Store during that period.
Food for thought:
From the testimony of Mr. Marc E. Kasowitz before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

One particularly effective illegal strategy involves the
following scenario: the short-selling hedge fund selects a
target company; the hedge fund then colludes with a so-called
independent stock analyst firm to prepare a false and negative
"research report" on the target; the analyst firm agrees not to
release the report to the public until the hedge fund
accumulates a significant short position in the target's stock;
once the hedge fund has accumulated that large short position,
the report is disseminated widely, causing the intended decline
in the price of the target company's stock. The report that is
disseminated contains no disclosure that the analyst was paid to
prepare the report, or that the hedge fund dictated its
contents, or that the hedge fund had a substantial short
position in the target's stock. Once the false and negative
research report -- misrepresented as "independent" -- has had
its intended effect, the hedge fund then closes its position and
makes an enormous profit, at the expense of the proper
functioning of the markets, harming innocent investors who were
unaware that the game was rigged, and damaging the target
company itself and its employees. wit_id=5486 []

Student exercise: Compare and contrast with the movement of AAPL stock shares before and after this report came out.

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