Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Time Warner To Comcast: Some Mergers Don't Make Sense

Time Warner's CEO Jeffrey Bewkes doesn't think NBCU makes sense as an acquisition target for Comcast. Their experience with AOL is prime example that synergy is not easy to come by. And content and distribution together may be a deadly combination. They recently separated the two into different companies, Time Warnr Cable for distribution, Time Warner for content. "Mr. Bewkes pointed to Time Warner Cable's recent spin-off from its corporate parent as a sign of media disaggregation done well." The two didn't play well together in the same sandbox.

Should Comcast heed this advice. Does an NBCU-Comcast entity make sense? Can Comcast compete with ESPN in one area of its company and work closely with them in another. "Speaking at a keynote Q&A at TV Week's Innovation 360 conference in New York, Mr. Bewkes described NBCU as a "very complicated" business that might not make total sense for a cable company such as suitor Comcast with a portfolio that includes a broadcast network and a movie studio." Perhaps it is worth listening to this wisdom. Perhaps content and distribution work better separately, than together.

Bloomberg Wins Business Week

Mike Bloomberg has done extremely well in his career. Building a business, running a major metropolitan city, noticing opportunities and making a mark in the world. His latest, the purchase of Business Week Magazine. "With the move, Bloomberg takes on BusinessWeek’s faltering financial situation, plummeting ad sales and all—and gains its resources, products, standing and valuable brand. Bloomberg’s execs expect to strengthen Bloomberg Television, using that brand and the magazine’s “world-class” journalists, and the company’s web presence." It is a shot in the arm for magazine publishing.

What it says to me is that there is a profitable business opportunity to be exploited. Bloomberg's multimedia approach recognizes that content can live and breathe in multiple forms. His financial backing demonstrates that with better management, a keener approach to using its content and credibility across platforms, and vision of what may be possible with the web and e-books, Business Week can live on quite well. I'm excited for what Bloomberg can accomplish with this well regarded magazine.