Media and Money

Archive for the ‘Buying and Selling’ Category

Today, the Federal Communications Commission grants—with conditions and enforceable commitments approval of the assignment and transfer of control of broadcast, satellite, and other radio licenses from General Electric Company (GE) to Comcast Corporation. The approval will allow GE and Comcast to create a joint venture involving NBC Universal, Inc. (NBCU) and Comcast.

Some critics such as John Silver, President of the Free Press, are outraged at this merger saying:

You should be afraid and mad as hell.

The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections.

While even some politicians like Senator Al Franken are fighting against this push with a call to action:

This deal would mean higher cable rates and less freedom of choice for American consumers, and it would give a single media conglomerate unprecedented control over the flow of information in America. Whenever the same company owns both the content and the pipes delivering that content, consumers lose.

Already, we have seen that Comcast is not operating in good faith. By imposing a new fee on the company delivering Netflix’s online video streaming, Comcast is trying to kill off a competitor. Comcast has also refused to provide the FCC with documents necessary for the review process, and has already named the 43 executives who will take over NBC Universal.

As American consumers, we know a bad deal when we see one. Allowing this merger to proceed could lead to subsequent deals, leaving Americans at the mercy of a few powerful media conglomerates.

Sign Al Franken’s petition HERE!

Even Bloomberg has filed papers against the ruling stating the specifics:

Comcast is to pay GE $6.5 billion in cash and to contribute cable channels valued at $7.25 billion to a joint venture that will own the entertainment company. The joint venture is to include NBC Universal businesses and Comcast properties including E!, Versus and Golf Channel, the companies said in announcing the deal.

GE said in a statement today it expects about $8 billion in proceeds from the sale and a “small” after-tax gain when the transaction closes. The sale marks the end of more than two decades of ownership after GE acquired the NBC network in 1986 via its purchase of RCA Corp.

Paris-based Vivendi SA is to sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal as part of the deal.

Comcast was advised by Morgan Stanley, UBS AG and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with Davis Polk & Wardwell as legal counsel. GE was advised by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Weil, Gotshal & Manges acted as legal advisers.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has filed documents opposing the Comcast-NBC Universal combination as it was proposed.

A recent Burson-Marsteller study found that 79 percent of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index are using at least one of the most popular social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs.

Like the Fortune 100 study found, Twitter is the social media platform of choice among the Fortune Global 100. The study found that 65 percent of the largest 100 international companies have active accounts on Twitter, 54 percent have a Facebook fan page, 50 percent have a YouTube channel, and one-third (33 percent) have corporate blogs. Only 20 percent of the major international companies are utilizing all four platforms to engage with stakeholders.

Companies’ platform preferences also differed among regions. Companies based in the United States and Europe are more likely to use Twitter or Facebook than they were to have corporate blogs, while companies from Asia-Pacific were more likely to utilize corporate blogs than other forms of social media. However, Asian companies will use Twitter or Facebook to communicate with Western audiences (for example, Toshiba).

It also appears that some companies are getting more comfortable using social media as they are interacting and engaging more and not just broadcasting corporate messages. Companies using Twitter are following an average of 731 people each and 38 percent of companies are responding to people’s tweets (for example, Vodafone UK). Thirty-two percent have also “re-tweeted” or reposted user comments during the last week (like Verizon Careers).

For the full report on how Fortune 500 companies are using social media.

The Comcast boss, Brian Roberts, said buying control of NBC Universal, General Electric’s media business, made him and his cable group “strategically complete.” This was code to his shareholders, who have worried about him building a media empire ever since he tried to buy Walt Disney, that he’s done shopping, Reuters Breakingviews says.

But to fully complete the deal, Comcast needs to buy the 49 percent of NBC that is still in G.E.’s hands. And if NBC’s core cable businesses continue growing, the conglomerate’s remaining stake could be worth some $20 billion by the time Mr. Roberts can buy it, Reuters Breakingviews calculates.

That’s a big chunk of change for Comcast shareholders. But here’s where Comcast’s financial engineers may deserve applause, Reuters Breakingviews says: The deal looks to have been structured in a way that should, if Comcast is willing to be patient and NBC performs, pay for itself.

Read the full article from the New York Times.

I got my September 2009 issue of Vogue and boy is it large, but this issue is nothing (in terms of volume) compared to the issue I received two years ago. The September 2007 issue of Vogue with Sienna Miller on the cover had a record of 727 pages- the largest and heaviest issue of Vogue ever- coming in at five pounds. Now Vogue and fashion fans get a glimpse of what it takes to put together an issue of the most influential publication in fashion. So all you fashionistas who want to get into fashion- you might want to reconsider after you take a look into what really goes down.

About the movie
Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue for 20 years, is the most powerful figure in fashion. Wintour embodies a fascinating contradiction of passion and perfectionism as she reigns over a dizzying array of designers, models, photographers, and editors. Director R.J. Cutler delivers a rare insider account of the nine months leading up to the printing of the highly anticipated September issue of the magazine, which promises to be the biggest one ever. He takes us behind the scenes at fashion week, to Europe and back, on shoots and reshoots, and into closed-door staff meetings, bearing witness to an arduous and sometimes emotionally demanding process. At the eye of this annual fashion hurricane is the two-decade relationship between Wintour and Grace Coddington, incomparable creative director and genius stylist. They are perfectly matched for this age-old conflict between creator and curator. Through them, we see close up the delicate creative chemistry it takes to remain at the top of the ever-changing fashion field. Cutler cleverly deconstructs the creative process as it plays out in the hollowed halls of Vogue, lined with racks of couture. In The September Issue, his access and insight are impressive and make us aware that he is offering us a privileged glimpse into a world many dream about but few see.

Okay, I am not a big fan of video games, but this weekend, one of my best friends put me up on Madden 2010. To him, the release of the very popular video game is like a holiday. He suggested taking time off from work just to play-and although he didn’t-he could not tear himself away from the game. Poor guy 😉madden2010

According to a review of Nielsen’s Video Game Tracking data, the Madden football franchise is still a household name just like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Mario.

Here are some interesting facts from the Nielsen Video Game Tracking data review:

  • Madden NFL 10 dominates the sports genre in several metrics, including unaided and aided awareness and definite purchase interest among active gamers.
  • Unaided awareness for Madden NFL 10 for the week of August 2nd is a very robust 14% overall and a whopping 31% among Males 18 to 24. The next highest title mentioned during the same time period, Wii Sports Resort (released July 26), has roughly half the unaided awareness among active gamers (8%).
  • In terms of platform preference, 30% of over 9,200 gamers interested in purchasing Madden NFL 10 indicate Xbox 360 as their system of choice. This outpaces PS3 (23%), PS2 (20%) and Wii (17%).
  • In terms of age, younger gamers (13 to 24) over-index for the Xbox 360 version, with the PS3 skewing older (18 to 34). Gamers 35 to 54 indicate Wii as their preferred platform (24%) just above Xbox 360 (23%), PS2 (22%) and PS3 (19%).
  • Among the always desirable male 18 to 24 gamers, Xbox 360 had the highest platform choice for Madden NFL 10 at 42%, with PS3 (28%) and PS2 (15%) following behind.
  • 22% of gamers interested in purchasing Madden NFL 10 indicate they would either pre-order the game or buy it during the first week of its release. Another 29% indicated they would buy it in new condition after the first week of release, showing that over 50% of interested gamers have a high urgency to purchase the game early.
  • The Associated Press reports that the InterMedia Partners has purchased the assets of Vibe, the popular hip-hop and urban culture magazine that shut down in June amid a sharp decline in advertising revenue.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    InterMedia, a private equity fund focused on the media industry, said it has partnered with Uptown Media Group, an InterMedia portfolio company that publishes Uptown Magazine, and Blackrock Digital, an interactive media sales and marketing firm, to buy the assets of Vibe and

    The companies plan to relaunch Vibe Magazine, which was founded in 1993 by legendary producer Quincy Jones, in November or December of this quarter and will publish the magazine quarterly next year. The Web site will be relaunched immediately.

    THE BLACK EYED PEAS have tied Usher’s record for the longest successive stay at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 19 consecutive weeks at #1. “I Gotta Feeling” holds at #1 for 7 weeks and “Boom Boom Pow” spent 12 weeks at #1. This is the longest consecutive stay by a duo or group in the Billboard charts 51 year history. The Black Eyed Peas bypassed Boyz II Men’s 1994 record for successive stay at the top by a duo or group when they hit 17 weeks at #1. The Black Eyed Peas are also the first duo or group with consecutive #1’s on the Mainstream Top 40 chart since Maroon 5 in 2004.

    “I Gotta Feeling,” the second single from The E.N.D., sits at #1 on the Top 40 chart. Since its release seven weeks ago, “I Gotta Feeling” has sold over 1.95 million digital downloads. Their first single “Boom Boom Pow” spent 6 weeks at #1 on the Top 40 chart and has sold over 3.8 million digital downloads. “Boom Boom Pow” is the # 1 track on the Nielsen SoundScan’s Year To Date digital tracks chart for 2009.

    THE E.N.D., the fifth release from the three-time Grammy Award winning, multi-platinum Interscope recording artist, The Black Eyed Peas, entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #1 with the group’s highest debut of their career with 304,109 in first-week sales. The E.N.D. is currently #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.

    Rolling Stone calls THE E.N.D., “the best thing the Black Eyed Peas have ever recorded” and Entertainment Weekly raves, “pure Top 40 nirvana.” USA Today confirms “it’s booming, electrified pop with plenty of Pow.” Rolling Stone calls “Boom Boom Pow” one of the best summer jams of the past 20 years and People lists “I Gotta Feeling” as their summer pick.

    The E.N.D. is The Black Eyed Peas follow up to their 2005 release Monkey Business. With worldwide sales of more than 9 million copies, Monkey Business generated Grammy Awards for “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” and “My Humps.” The Black Eyed Peas have sold over 27 million cds worldwide.

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