WSJ By The Numbers - Top 10 for Sept.28

A compendium of revealing stats and the key leading economic and business indicators based on today's Wall Street Journal article and reports:

The world-wide videoconferencing market amounted to $1.15 billion last year and projected to increase 22% a year through 2010, according to market researcher Frost & Sullivan. Videoconference room installations world-wide are estimated to be roughly 200,000 at the end of 2005.

The high-end videoconferencing systems with broadcast-quality cameras and a row of 50-inch plasma screens cost as much as $1 million for a two-location system, plus as much as $18,000 a month for high-speed phone lines. That is as much as 50 times the cost of older, less sophisticated systems. (Better Virtual Meetings)

Durable-goods orders declined 0.5% in August to a seasonally adjusted $209.75 billion, following a revised 2.7% decline in July. In the eight months through August, orders were 8.5% higher than the same period a year ago. (How Fresh Data Cloud Picture Of U.S. Economy)
  • The second-half economic growth will slow to below 3%, following a 2.9% advance in the second quarter and a 5.6% gain in the first quarter.
  • Sales of new homes rose 4.1% in August from a month earlier. Compared with August a year ago, new-home sales were down 17.4%.
$209.75 Billion
Year-to-date steel imports into the U.S. are 40% higher than a year earlier. With 30 million tons imported through August, imports are on pace to exceed the record 41.5 million tons in 1998. Raw steel production in the U.S. is up 9.4% from a year earlier to 65 million tons through July. (U.S.'s Mounting Steel Stockpiles, Weak Demand Fuel Fears of a Glut) 41.5M Tons
US Defense budget is poised for a record $447 billion, that anticipates defense spending next year will exceed annual expenditures at the height of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War era's 1968 defense outlays rose to about $470 billion when adjusted to 2006 dollars. (Congress to Approve Defense Bill Rivaling Vietnam-Era Spending) $447 Billion 
For the five years ending January 2004, the Federal Communications Commission reports that average cable rates increased 7.8% annually, compared with a 2.1% increase in the Consumer Price Index. A 2004 study by the GAO looked at six markets with cable competition and found that rates were 15% to 41% below similar markets with no competition. Annual savings for U.S. households through competition will total $8 billion, says the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy.  (Cable Guys) $8 Billion
The market for music devices is roughly $19 billion and about $44.6 billion for music-enabled phones, according to a 2006 estimate by iSuppli.

Nokia shipped 15 million phones with built-in music players in the latest quarter and expects to reach 80 million this year. Sony Ericsson shipped about 10 million phones with built-in music players in the second quarter . Apple sold 8.1 million iPods in its most recent quarter. (Music to Nokia's Ears)

$19 Billion
By 2010, Verizon hopes to have grabbed 20% to 25% of the TV market and expects to have made the services available to 18 million homes. Verizon estimated the network upgrade will take a net investment of $18 billion through 2010. By August, it cost the company $933 to hook up a home, down from $1,220 in January. (Verizon Says TV, High-Speed
Web Services on Track
18M Homes
Video Web sites now draw users in numbers that rival those of cable or satellite companies. YouTube, the country's No. 1 online-video site, had more than 34 million unique visitors in August, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. MySpace was second with 17.9 million unique visitors. In comparison, Comcast, the country's largest cable company, has 24 million subscribers, and DirecTV, the largest satellite-TV provider has 15.5 million U.S. subscribers. TV advertising is a $60 billion a year market. (As Internet TV Gains Popularity, Cable Firms Bulk Up Offerings) 34M Visitors
College textbooks are a huge industry, with the combined sales of new and used books amounting to nearly $8 billion annually, according to the Association of American Publishers. The average cost of books and supplies for a full-time in-state freshman at a four-year public college is $898, or roughly one-fourth of tuition and fees. (Efforts Mount To Cut Costs Of Textbooks) $8B Books
The Food and Drug Administration approved Amgen's new colon-cancer drug Vectibix. Erbitux, a rival drug from ImClone, racked up U.S. sales of $413 million in 2005. A year of Vectibix treatment could run almost $100,000. (FDA Approves Amgen Cancer Drug) $100K

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