Posts Tagged ‘You Tube’

Letter From New York 05 26 15 Of mergers and mania, notes from the media world…

May 26, 2015

The sun has darted in and out behind clouds all day. I woke up fairly early but had decided not to take my regular train into the city but the one after that; after a long Memorial Day weekend, much spent on the deck watching the creek flow by, I got up, had my morning cup of coffee and started perusing the news.

Pushing to the head of the news today was that Charter Communications will acquire Time-Warner Cable in a deal that is worth about 78 billion dollars, only a few weeks after Comcast withdrew its bid for Time Warner Cable because it looked like it would not receive regulatory approval.

This time the chances are better. Why? It’s not Comcast that is doing the acquiring but Charter. Comcast also holds lots of other assets besides its cable assets, including a small company called NBC Universal.

In the interesting and byzantine world of cable, Charter’s largest shareholder is Liberty Media, a company controlled by John Malone, a cable pioneer who built the nation’s largest cable company, TCI, and sold it to Bell Atlantic back in 1994 for $55 billion.

John Malone’s TCI financially backed and gave carriage to a number of struggling cable networks, including Discovery which has gone on to being its own small behemoth.

In those days, he earned the sobriquets of “Darth Vader” and the “King of Cable.” He dominated the cable business from his office in Denver. Liberty Media is a conglomerate with interests in lots of companies here and abroad. John Malone is personally worth about $8.6 billion and is the largest landowner in America.

The combined companies will be the number two cable and broadband supplier in the country, after Comcast. But the fact that it will only be number two and won’t control about 50% of broadband connections is what will make it easier for regulators to say yes to this while having said no to Comcast.

In the days when cable customers are beginning to shift their loyalty to streaming services such as Netflix, cable operators are seeking partners to bulk up to face the challenge.

Recently, European operator Altice purchased Suddenlink, a smaller cable company. It will be interesting to see who is where when the music stops.

The music stopped for ITV’s purchase of The Weinstein’s TV division. Too caught up in the movie business of the Weinstein brothers and ITV has no appetite for the film business.

This story is days old but keeps repeating. Media bosses make good paychecks, especially if you work with a company that has John Malone on the board. Several of the companies that Liberty is invested in have CEO’s who have rich compensation packages.

David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, in which Liberty has an interest, is the highest paid exec of a publicly traded company. He earned something like $156,000,000 last year, after extending his contract.


As we move into the negotiations for advertising next year, in what is called “the upfront” there are a couple of trends to be noted. One is that traditional TV dollars are down while digital is growing strongly, 21%.

Big brands are having a tough time in packaged goods. Consumers are beginning to gravitate to smaller brands that feel more “authentic” than say P&G or Clorox. It’s going to be a tough fight out there over the next few years for the hearts and minds of consumers, particularly in latching on to young consumers who are consuming media in such different ways.

Kellogg is pulling advertising from YouTube until they get better numbers, a blow for the service. They want someone like a Nielsen to come in and verify the numbers. The trend is growing and Kraft Foods is saying its probably going to follow suit with some platforms.

Branded entertainment is growing but is still a fraction of traditional advertising. It’s still hard to get some buyers to buy.

Cowen and Company, a research company, is predicting that by 2020 Netflix will have one hundred million subscribers and about 17 billion dollars in revenue, domestically and internationally.

They have just acquired all the 1990’s episodes of “Bill Nye The Science Guy.” Go Netflix.

Being a Netflix fan I will probably go home after a bite or two at a favorite place and watch something off the service.

Have a good evening everyone!

Letter From New York June 27, 2010

June 27, 2010

Or, as it seems to me…

The huzz-a-buzz this past week has been almost all about the sacking of General Stanley McChrystal, who, if you somehow have missed this, said (as did a number of his staff) many uncomplimentary things about White House staff and some diplomats and said them while a reporter for Rolling Stone Magazine was taking notes – a supremely stupid thing for a very, very smart man to do. He was summoned back to Washington, arriving with his resignation in his pocket, which was accepted. He was replaced by David Petraeus; arguably the most respected military man in the country right now.

To my shock, an article in the New York Post actually praised the President for doing this. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know the New York Post, it is owned by News Corp which is run by Rupert Murdoch and is generally very, very, very critical of President Obama. As far as the Post is generally concerned, the President can’t sneeze correctly.

It has been the biggest military/civilian clash since Harry Truman sacked General MacArthur during the Korean War [which, by the way, started 60 years ago this past week] for criticizing the President to Congress. I kept wondering what McChrystal had been thinking when he allowed this to happen. From what I have read about the man, he is very smart, very tough, a very good commander – but this wasn’t a smart thing to do and, unfortunately, Obama felt he had no choice but to fire the General. What the pundits have said is that replacing McChrystal with Petraeus was brilliant and that out of this sad mess Obama has been looking more like a Commander in Chief than before – hence at least some praise from The New York Post.

While this was playing out, the Gulf Oil Spill continued to gush. Obama spoke from the Oval Office and at the end of his speech referenced the Blessing of the Fleet that happens in the Gulf Coast, praying that God will protect the fisherman about to embark. It was held again this year, not so long ago. Obama talked a bit about prayer at the end of his speech and the way it has been going, prayer may be the best bet we’ve got. It seems sometimes that it will take a miracle of some kind to turn this around.

I’ve been told by friends in religious occupations that some have seen the Gulf Coast Spill as the harbinger of the End Times. Though I think that any event can be and has been construed as a harbinger of The End Times. Seems to me that we have been in The End Times according to someone almost since the moment Christ ascended into heaven.

Though not really religious I do pray in my own ways and will extend the Gulf Coast and the eco-disaster there to the things I sent heavenward to my personal Higher Power. I will remember it more when I pause and speak to God. We might all do well to do that if we’re so inclined…

If there are religious/spiritual people at Google, I am sure they are sending their thanks up to heaven as a Judge in New York dismissed the billion dollar lawsuit that Viacom had filed against You Tube, a Google company, for posting hundreds of thousands of copyrighted clips. The Judge declared Google/You Tube covered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and therefore not at fault. Now if you don’t know what the DMCA is all about basically, as I understand it, it says that if you’re a website like You Tube and someone posts copyrighted material to your site, you’re not liable for copyright infringement if you take it down as soon as you are alerted to it. Which the judge decided Google/You Tube had done and so it was in the clear. Viacom has announced it will appeal. However the Judge’s decision is powerfully important and is cause for great celebration in Googledom. As I said, I’m sure that those who pray are saying thank you to their Higher Power.