This had to be the biggest marketing campaign around and generated a ton of news articles.  If you have not paid much attention to the newspaper and media business of late, there’s a few of those folks looking for revenue streams too and thus so compensation for reporting news is taking on a bit of a new face today as well.  We all know print revenue and advertising has been going downhill for a long time and the reliance on the web for revenue has grown and keeps growing.  News agencies are looking for ad exposure and “click bait” revenue.  This is nothing new but now with other revenue streams shrinking there’s more of a focus than ever.  I run small Google ads on my blog and it’s not much and doesn’t even cover my cost of the blog with my time and effort.

If you have not caught up with what’s going on with news today, here’s a link below that might offer some insight as to what’s happening.  I’m not the first one out there to say this as it’s been covered by the LA Times and other folks out there as well.  The competition is fierce.  There’s a couple videos here that talk about how reporters are “interviewing more data bases” today than ever.  What that means is more focus on analytical skills with reporters and automation.  That’s nothing new in all the jobs out there today as we see it everywhere.

CMS Modifies Policy on Disclosure on Physician Payment Information-Big Boom For News Agencies “Interviewing Data Bases” For The Content, Stats, Studies and News We Read, And The Rise Journobot Arises To Aid Said Processes…

Here’s one of the videos I included at that link with Ken Cukier from the Economist with an interview that explains how this happens with “big data”.  It’s called “data journalism”…and it is being combined with what is called “hard news”, which means interviewing a person or a person going to a location to bring a story.  The news media is taking big data and analyzing it to make a story and explaining it to you in the way of a news story.  He talks about tools that are used by news agencies and all you have to do is look around and see.  A journalist for the LA Times recently wrote about the same thing with consumers (you and I) drowning in data news and there will be more. 

He talks about due diligence here with news that investors may want to be aware of and we all know that stock trading bots of course rely on the news for buying and selling stocks, so keep that in mind as there’s a secondary purpose to the news other than you and I reading it, the bots want news too.  If you watch video #2 in the footer below, there’s an excellent example of how this works with the Quants of Wall Street.  It gives a great example of a mistake that shot down United Airlines stock a few years ago when a mistake was made and an old news release was re-published.  It was bad news issued at a time when the company was doing well and just took a few seconds to shoot the value of the stock down as the stock bots the monitor the news reacted immediately.  So in keeping with the topic here, give this some thought with all the news coverage that took place with the CVS news.  Stock bots were out there reading this news.  This being said is any wonder that Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post?  His company, Amazon is public and depends on news to move their stocks up and down, so the desire to ensure there’s enough credible news out there might have just had a little to do with that decision, again as most are looking for money, the Washington Post did get money to survive. 

In addition all news agencies were anxious to make sure they covered it as it helps their ad revenue with more readership and again they need revenue streams so yours and my exposure to the ads and even more if we click on one of them adds to the money they have coming are you beginning to see what others besides myself are imagecalling “click bait” out there?  As I said, its been going on for quite a while but now the competition and search for revenue streams has intensified to where all want readership and as much as each media can get.  So, that might give you an idea as to how CVS, who has a very smart marketing department worked their their news.  They could have quietly removed tobacco products but saw the opportunity to make a big splash themselves so two elements working here. 

I’m extremely logical and thought about all of this and read my share of news on the topic and thought “what does this do for me”…I don’t go in there to buy tobacco products but what I do want from CVS is to make sure when I have a prescription to fill is that they have the drug in stock and will be able to fill my prescription at a price I can afford.  That’s what I go in there for and last time I looked, that’s the core business of a drug store, is is not?  I don’t sell if they sell tubas in there, just take care of what I go in there for.  Sure selling tobacco products is a throw back to another time when things were different and selling tobacco products was just a normal thing they did.  So I can be the devil’s advocate here and say what took so long too?  Do I really thing that one store stopping the sale is going to make an impact?  No, because I’m logical and there’s too much money in it for others to jump in here.  In an “ideal” world this would occur but we don’t live in that world, far from it and we have technologies that bomb us right and left with advertising and all banks, corporations competing for every stick of business (who are all cash rich today) they can get from the diminishing middle class who’s going broke.

In better economic times this news might have excited me more, but what impact does it have on “me”..none.  I had to kind of laugh a bit too as we had other news articles come out that said not very many people buy their tobacco products at drug stores…ah…there you go with “interviewing a data base” as covered in the video above and again a different look at the impact of the news..with other news agencies kind of telling you too, “big deal” if you will or “so what’.  I also got a kick out of the news stories that were “bleeding hearts” stating that CVS was, out of the goodness of their hearts was going to just throw $2 billions dollars a year of income down the drain.  What corporation does that?  None. Share holders who buy CVS stock would be screaming their heads off, right?  The share holders care about dividends and income and could also probably care less if they sold tubas..they want the return on their investment so again just putting this in the big picture with total logic applied here with the way that corporations operate today. 

So again I come back to me and what impact does this have for me…none as it’s only one place out there where tobacco products are sold and not what I go to CVS for.  I do get tired of being bombed with their tampon and other such ads though and the use of the CVS card that is used to collect data to sell.  I’m not bliss here and know revenue streams for the loss of $2 billion will be made up in other places and it will have to be fast if this is all going to take place by October, the target date stated.  Again they can pull the tobacco products but if they can’t fill my prescription when I need it…well who cares about the tobacco campaign and I’ll go elsewhere if not..and the ban on tobacco had absolutely nothing to do with meeting my needs. 

Ken Cukier says journalists today “have” to know statistics…they will need teams.  The same art of story telling will remain and with the data being there, basic familiarity of software tools is needed.  News rooms will have developers working with journalists to get the interpretation reported in a way that will reflect accuracy and not just an opinion.  You can take numbers and data and have many different interpretations and perceptions…we have that with hard news but again stats it’s a bigger challenge.  The link below talks about this from a post I made a few weeks ago.  Professor Siefe from NYU makes a great case that if a news story contains any type of algebra or mathematical formula, we buy in because “numbers can’t be wrong can the”..yes they can…you cant watch video #1 in the footer for his entire presentation on this topic which was given at Google, NY a couple years ago. 

Quantitated Justification For Believing Things That Are Not True And Using Mathematical Processes To Fool Ourselves-The Journalistic Bot Functionality Debuts As Media Can’t Resist the Formulas…

So coming back around to CVS…where’s the numbers for someone to project on how many people will quit buying tobacco products at CVS or how many will quit?  Give it a little more time and you might see someone create a story around some data base stats they get a hold of…it’s a just a simple pattern and I recognize those as it’s textbook reporting today, as you see it over and over and over and over, again just my flat out logic as my brain is like any other human brain or algorithm with identifying patterns.  Flu shots may replace some of the lost revenue but probably not enough so we come around to data selling.  It’s an epidemic and works on servers 24/7 and you can’t see it, touch it or talk to the process.

A few months ago I touched on that topic and a couple years ago Walgreens was making about a billion a year selling data so who knows that could be $2 billion today and CVS is in the same business.  You would have to be living under a rock not to recognize this.  It shows up with more ads and “click bait”…I make it a point now to turn my phone off when I’m in Walgreens or CVS.  Here’s a video…watch and see if you get it (grin) to put the card that collects your data on your iPhone.  As a side note we have former White House Healthcare executive Nancy Deparle sitting on the board at CVS with a nice compensation package too. 

Not To Be Outdone by Walgreens In the Data Selling Business, CVS Pushing a New “My Weekly Ad”, Former White House Healthcare Czar Nancy DeParle Now Sits On Their Board, Discloses Award of 562 Shares..

So again revenue streams to replace this $2 billion dollar amount has to come from somewhere and I’m sure there will be other products taking up the shelf space, but data mining and selling is a fast route to go as there’s no labor stocking shelve, just programming a bunch of algorithms to run to collect more data about you be judge..what do you think? 

Now that you have read this far, do you see the marketing behind all of this too?  Again I could care less what else they sell and do there just take care of the core business and be able to fill prescriptions and don’t turn on that auto refill algorithm either.  For a $50 credit, you can give CVS more of your data too if you want.

CVS Comes Up With More Legal Mumbo Jumbo Relative to Privacy And HIPAA To Allow More Access to Data For Sale, Offering a Mere Pittance of $50 Purchasing Credits To Dupe Consumers

You know when you pay with a charge card at drug stores, we now have insurers such as Blue Cross and United Healthcare buying up your spending records too…yes indeed the data selling epidemic rears it head here too.image

Insurance Companies Are Buying Up Consumer Spending Data-Time is Here to License and Tax the Data Sellers-As Insurers Sell Tons of Data, Gets Flawed Data When Data Buyers Uses Out of Context Too

Junk food that you buy is also being tracked, so again if you buy a candy bar, you might not want to buy that there as the excuse Blue Cross gave for monitoring such records is to also check in on what size of clothes you are buying if you are insured by them..with obesity battle they said they want to monitor the size of clothes you buy to see if you are getting fat, I know you can’t make that up either and what else do they do with the data.  You could be buying big clothes for somebody else for that matter but it will send up a “fat clothes” alert that someone is getting fat (grin).  So what do we do with this bit of information?  Buy candy bars somewhere else without using a card to get a discount if you don’t want to be tracked? 

Health Insurers and Others Trying to Track Junk Food Consumers Purchase–Attack of the Killer Algorithms for Corporate Profits

Don’t buy fat clothes at CVS either, they have a few clothing articles in some of their stores today too, at least they do here in California.  Again I just thought this whole marketing phenomena here deserved a deep look at the “big picture” as to what else goes on with CVS and they are not alone, it’s everywhere but kudos to a real sharp marketing department that took an opportunity here to to make a corporation look like people, in other words a big campaign that was able to take one area of focus and turn it into a positive perception, meanwhile back at the ranch you have all this other stuff going on.  Sermo the doctor’s conversation board and site and I were talking about it too and I saw a few doctors commenting on Twitter  as well as to “what’s next” chips?  They recognized it for what it is as they see patients and and real world every day and recognized the marketing effort here too. 

Again I look at what this means to me…nothing…just take care of the core business,image sell less of my data and have the drugs in stock to fill my prescriptions..why else do I go to a drug store?  There’s nothing wrong if you want to “feel good” about the corporation decision but logic of course tells me that this decision once you get past the good ethics, was a great marketing ploy.  Maybe others will replicate it if they can replace the same revenue stream?  I wouldn’t see a company make such a move without that ability as again share holders would scream and sell their stock (grin), and speaking of that from another angle, CVS has a big stock buy back going on like most big corporations out there too, i.e. Apple, Coke, Microsoft, etc.  and if it spooks shareholders that the revenue streams may not be replaced fast enough, that too will motivate more share holders to sell their stock back to CVS.  If you have not noticed the stock buy backs going on in the last couple of years, it’s a big deal as when less stock is available to purchase it can also facilitate a methodology to raise the value of such stock. 

For more videos on how the financial worlds work today, I have been a curator and have grouped a bunch of videos created by people smarter than me that are what I think are very helpful in explaining how math and code works in the business world today, behind the scenes and what you “don’t” know, “Algo Duping and the Attack of the Killer Algorithms” when you have time, there’s a lot there so watch one or two and come back later when you have time to see more of them.  Last year we also had this…BD

DEA Raids 2 CVS Stores in Florida and Suspends License of Drug Distributor Cardinal Health–Lots of Oxycodone


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