Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Is Cablevision In Trouble?

More defections at Cablevision as another top executive leaves the team.  The latest is Barry Frey, EVP of Advance Advertising, who is following David Kline, President of Media Sales, who left last month.  Will the revolving door ever stop?

Also announced the team of Rutledge and Bickham have reunited.  The former Cablevision COO is joining the former Cablevision CEO at Charter Communications. Both now have their same titles at their new cable firm.

Will the reunion at Charter shortly include Kline and Frey?  As the Cablevision senior team members depart, one has to wonder if it is time for Cablevision to finally put up the For Sale sign.  Should Time Warner Cable come in with an offer and try to complete its ownership of the NY DMA?  Or will the arrival of Rutledge and Bickham to Charter give them reason to want an pick up their old system to add to Charter's system list?

Somethings happening at Cablevision to lead to such a mass exodus.  Perhaps we should soon get a whiff of what the trouble is that  is causing all these departures.

Will Microsoft Sell Products In Barnes & Noble Stores?

There are obvious gains for Microsoft to partner with B&N.  It gets a footprint in the e-book space, it offers an app store to compete with Apple, and it eventually puts its new operating system into new devices.  But it also gets access to retail space, in bookstores and especially in college bookstores.  But will Microsoft take advantage of the brick and mortar side of this partnership or are all efforts directed strictly to the digital business?

Just as Apple has gained great traction with its stores, Microsoft now has a retail partners to offer a similar relationship.  Areas can be built up within these locations to sell all sorts of Microsoft products, including its new Nokia phones and XBox systems.  And B&N stores need diversification as physical book sales are declining.  A Microsoft presence gives another push to enter a store.

Shareholders like to look strictly at value that is perceived by spinning off and combining assets. Whether the Nook business is spun off or not for unlocking value may be a financial goal; but, for the overall health of the  business, the synergies of the store and digital presence are key to their mutual survival.