Business news

Nothing is forever

Mar 25, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about Netflix's admission that it slows down streams for AT&T and Verizon users; Sony's move into the mobile game space; and a planned drop in price for forever stamps.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

It was merely a formality. But Thursday's move by the Empire State Development Corporation to put its stamp on a loan agreement brought the future Curtiss Hotel closer to opening in downtown Buffalo.

David Brancaccio

In the risky world of economics, there was always (thought to be) one guaranteed investment: forever stamps. 

That stamp that will let you send first-class mail, always and forever, until the universe pulls back on itself and shrinks everything into a black hole. They guaranteed that you could pay for them without worrying that they'd be worth less in the future. 

Now the Washington Post's Allan Sloan says that "for the first time in almost 100 years, it looks like the price of a first-class letter could drop." 

Sony enters the mobile gaming market

Mar 25, 2016
Mark Garrison

Sony’s video game business is making a big new step. On Thursday, it announced the formation of a new company called ForwardWorks, which will make games for smartphones starting in Japan. For the most part, Sony has focused on making expensive games for its PlayStation console. But like its competition, Sony’s placing a new bet on gamers playing on Apple and Android smartphones. That console gaming giants Sony and Nintendo are both currently getting involved in iOS and Android games says a lot about just how much mobile gaming is growing.

The Dispatch, Ep 8: Checking in safe on Facebook

Mar 25, 2016
Molly Wood

Facebook's Safety Check is not without criticism.

Economy now picking up after 2015 fizzle-out

Mar 25, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

This story has been updated based on the release of final Q4 GDP data on Friday by the Commerce Department.

In its third and final estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) in Q4 2015, the Commerce Department reports that GDP grew by 1.4 percent. That is a 0.4 percent upward revision from the previous (second) estimate released in February. The final upward revision in GDP was due primarily to higher final figures for consumer spending.

Two small TV companies join forces

Mar 24, 2016
Molly Wood

We got word today that one of the pioneers of time-shifted TV recording, TiVo, is close to a deal to sell itself to a company called Rovi.

I know you may be thinking that these are two companies you've barely heard of or don't care about.

TiVo makes a DVR with a great interface and tiny market share. Rovi makes an interactive TV guide that maybe about 18 million people use.

But between them, they would own about 6,000 patents related to recording and playing back live television and to streaming over-the-top video.

Tony Wagner

This weekend two of our oldest, best-known superheroes will meet on the big screen for the first time in "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice."

Molly Samuel

More than 1,200 students come to the Carroll County College and Career Academy on any given day to take career classes. The school is west of Atlanta, near the Alabama border. Students here learn fields as varied as culinary arts, welding and auto mechanics. They all go to one of the five regular high schools in the district for their other classes, like math and history, then come here for job skills.  

Marketplace for Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mar 24, 2016

Breaking down why toppling Yahoo's entire board can be a challenge; how algorithms and big data can help musicians; and a look at a new report from Deptartment of Education on college completion rates for low-income students

An ode to the Hannah Montana business model

Mar 24, 2016
Sarah Menendez

On this fateful day, 10 years ago, Disney debuted a live-action television show featuring the daughter of a washed-up country star: Hannah Montana.

Are payday loans are hurting minorities?

Mar 24, 2016
Donna Tam

While some analysts argue that the federal government's proposal to regulate payday loans is detrimental to consumers, policy change may be necessary to keep communities of color from falling into cycles of debt, according to a report released Thursday by the National Council of LaRaza.

Tony Wagner

Three big food makers — Kellogg Co., Conagra Foods Inc. and Mars Inc. — announced this week they'll start labeling foods made with genetically modified organisms.

A more inclusive workforce

Mar 24, 2016

Hang in there, one day left 'til the weekend! Here are some need-to-know numbers for Thursday. 

Diversifying the medical field

Mar 24, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about rising home prices; the military's struggle with finding enough recruits; and the lack of diversity in the medical field and what some programs are trying to do to change that. 

In the X-ray lab, gear is key

Mar 24, 2016
David Brancaccio

As part of our Pro Tool series, we're looking for that must-have device in your line of work, be it a pair of scissorsnotebook, or

Market reaction to Brussels terrorist attacks

Mar 22, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about the effect of Tuesday morning's Brussels attacks on the markets; tax policy; and the increased competition Nike is facing from Under Armour, an apparel company .

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen on how data is shaping tech

Mar 22, 2016
Bruce Johnson

Adobe is holding a big summit focused on digital marketing in Las Vegas on Tuesday.  The company has plans to go far beyond some of the things it's best known for — like its suite of software for creators — and into content distribution.  

Adobe is also coming off a very good earnings report — the company seems to have moved successfully into the world of paid subscriptions, where people rent Photoshop instead of buying it. 

Can Steph Curry help Under Armour score against Nike?

Mar 22, 2016
Adrienne Hill

Nike reports quarterly earnings this afternoon. Analysts have high expectations.

But could reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, and his deal with Under Armour, pose a threat to the sports giant?

Under Armour has seen a huge increase in basketball shoe sales.

"I think every brand can be successful in this space," said Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at The NPD Group. "I just don’t think any brand catches Nike."

Powell said Nike controls more than 90 percent of the multi-billion dollar market for basketball shoes.

Obama speech is eagerly awaited in Cuba

Mar 22, 2016
Tracey Samuelson

President Obama continues his historic visit to Cuba with a speech directed at the Cuban people Tuesday morning at El Gran Teatro de Havana.

Aberdeen copes with the oil downturn

Mar 22, 2016
Sam Beard

“We don’t want to become the Detroit of the U.K.,” warns Damien Bates – editor of a local newspaper in Aberdeen. “We don’t want to rely on one industry, and if it collapses and goes, we don’t want to be left wondering: what do we do next?" 

Hospital mergers within state borders drive up costs

Mar 21, 2016
D Gorenstein

There’s a growing – and troubling – body of evidence that hospital mergers lead to higher prices. In other words, insurers, employers — we all tend to pay more for C-sections, heart surgery and hip replacements as hospitals get bigger and more powerful. 

For more than 40 years, a handful of economists, anti-trust lawyers and health policy wonks have worried hospitals that merge, but operate in entirely different markets — so-called "cross-market mergers" — drive up prices.

Staples and Office Depot fight FTC for merger

Mar 21, 2016
Mitchell Hartman

Staples and Office Depot face anti-trust lawyers for the Federal Trade Commission in U.S. District Court on Monday. The companies are fighting to complete their $6.3 billion proposed merger — an acquisition by Staples that follows Office Depot’s acquisition of competitor Office Max. The FTC argues that allowing the remaining no. 1 and no. 2 office-supply chains in America to hitch up will create monopoly market conditions and restrict competition.

Kim Adams

This week, Nashville, Tennessee is hosting a conference for people in the postal industry. Attending will be representatives from the U.S. Postal Service, which, after more than a decade of belt-tightening, is starting to add jobs and increase hours for its workers. But long-term financial problems threaten the stability associated with a postal service job.

Marketplace Tech for Monday, March 21, 2016

Mar 21, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about Apple's expected plans to unveil a new iPhone and iPad at its upcoming launch event, and the challenges Stripe — an internet commerce company — will face in Cuba as it prepares to do business there. 


On today's show, we'll explain Venezuela's economy using hot dogs; talk about the consequences of a Staples-Office Depot merger; and look at the growing instability of a U.S. Postal Service job. 

Kai Ryssdal

This final note on the way out today, of interest mostly to the slice of you that uses Twitter on a regular basis.

And for those of you curious about what tech companies have do to grow and keep making money:

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey told the Today Show that the 140 character -- limit arguably Twitter's defining characteristic -- isn't going anywhere.


Weekly Wrap: Janet Yellen and the global economy

Mar 18, 2016

Joining us to talk about the week's business and economic news are David Gura at Bloomberg TV and Leigh Gallagher from Fortune Magazine. 

Click the audio player above to listen to their conversation.

Hulk Hogan awarded $115 million in Gawker case

Mar 18, 2016
Tony Wagner

Hulk Hogan won big Friday in his lawsuit against Gawker Media.

Marketplace for Friday, March 18, 2016

Mar 18, 2016

How mid-life crisis can translate into financial crisis; a look at why so many hedge funds closed their doors in 2015; and the top economic news of the week with the weekly wrap.