Archive for the ‘Media Mergers’ Category
While trying to explain to my friends why the NBC and Comcast merger was bad for this country, they all thought that this would have not effect on anything from pricing to programming.
I was shocked, alarmed then frightened to learn that Keith Olbermann has left MSNBC. His final sign-off damn near brought me to tears. On a personal note, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow-and sometimes Chris Matthews kept me sane through the 2008 presidential election.
This is scary because now it seems like any voice that opposes the views of Comcast can easily be taken away from the general public. This could lead to biased, tainted and unfair/unbalanced reporting. While we don’t know for sure why Olbermann left MSNBC, it is suspiciously coincidental that he was let go immediately after the merger was approved by the FCC. Damn shame too because I didn’t think we would see any effects until at least after January 28th. Countdown with Keith Olbermann would have called that BS from a mile away, but now we have no one as vigilant as Olbermann to call out the BS, state the obvious when the obvious has been ignored.
I am worried about getting another viewpoint or perspective. At a time when conservative talk and punditry has the highest ratings ever, I am deeply concerned about having someone speak as strongly as Olbermann about liberal and progressive issues.
I have signed online petitions and will be on the look out for what’s next for Mr. Olbermann.
But for now, “Good Night and Good Luck.”
Watch Olbermann’s Final Sign-off from Countdown:
Study: Comcast-NBC Universal Merger Will Cost Consumers $2.4 Billion
The American Cable Association unveiled an economic study Monday that argues that consumers over the next nine years will pay at least $2.4 billion more for pay TV services if regulators don’t place conditions on the planned Comcast-NBC Universal deal to curb the combined entertainment giant’s pricing power.
The organization, which represents small cable operators and has opposed the proposed merger – at least without conditions, said Monday that $204 million in estimated financial benefits from the deal claimed by the merger partners will be outweighed by “consumer harm” of the transaction of $2.566 billion.
Comcast in a statement called the analysis flawed and said the issues raised in the report have been examined by the FCC in previous transactions. The commission “in each case rejected imposition of a condition on national cable networks,” it said. “There is no reason for the FCC to treat Comcast and NBCU worse than it treated Fox, DirecTV and Liberty [Media] in those recent deals.”
The ACA study, conducted by Dr. William Rogerson, professor of economics at Northwestern University, who served as the FCC’s chief economist 1998-1999, estimates vertical harm of the deal at $1.43 billion and the horizontal harm at $1.14 billion over the next nine years.
Vertical harm stems from the combination of programming assets and distribution, which will permit Comcast-NBC Uni to raise the fees it charges for programming to other distributors, including ACA members, such as RCN and WOW!
The horizontal effect stems from the merged firm’s control of key programming assets from both companies, which will allow it to negotiate prices for a broader portfolio, the group said.
“It is clear that the Comcast-NBCU deal will send monthly cable bills higher by billions of dollars over the next decade, underscoring ACA’s view that regulators must protect consumers and competition from a transaction whose benefits are vastly outweighed by its harms,” said ACA president and CEO Matthew Polka. “Without meaningful and cost effective conditions on the Comcast-NBCU transaction, regulators also run the risk of crippling effective competition in the pay-TV distribution market.”
By Michael White and James Callan
(Bloomberg) — Walt Disney Co. and General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal named new executives to lead their film studios after falling behind competitors at the box office.
Adam Fogelson was named chairman of Universal Pictures and Donna Langley co-chairman, the Los Angeles-based studio said yesterday. Burbank, California-based Disney promoted cable- network chief Rich Ross to studio chairman, replacing 38-year company veteran Dick Cook, who resigned last month.
Disney and Universal occupy the bottom two spots among the six major studios in U.S. and Canadian box-office sales in 2009, a year in which revenue has surged 7.5 percent. Studios are cutting back on the number of movies and grappling with a decline in DVD sales, developments that spotlight disappointments like Disney’s “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and Universal’s “Land of the Lost.”
“The industry is changing,” Chris Marangi, an analyst with Gabelli & Co. in Rye, New York, said in a phone interview. “There’s fewer films getting produced, there’s pressure on the home entertainment revenue stream and that’s led the studios to examine their cost structure and to be choosier about what pictures get made.”
Ross, who turns 48 tomorrow, will oversee worldwide production, distribution and marketing for live-action and animated film labels that include Touchstone, Miramax and Pixar, Disney, the world’s largest media company, said yesterday.
Disney, also the largest theme-park operator, said separately that Ed Grier, 54, retired as president of the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California, to work on a business venture with his sons.
Box Office Surge
U.S. and Canadian box-office sales have risen to $7.96 billion this year from $7.4 billion, according to Los Angeles- based researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office. Time Warner Inc., the box-office leader in 2008, is in first again this year with $1.61 billion in sales and 20 percent of the market, according to Box Office Mojo, which also tracks receipts.
Disney is fifth with $972.1 million in domestic ticket sales, or 12 percent market share, according to Box Office Mojo, based in Sherman Oaks, California. Last year the company was sixth with 11 percent.
Universal’s $837.2 million in sales so far in 2009 account for 11 percent of the market. Last year the company was fourth with 13 percent.
Disney’s “Confessions of a Shopaholic” generated $108.3 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. “Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience,” took in $23.1 million worldwide.
Ross, who was president of the Disney Channel, will lead efforts to restore movie-making profit. Disney has agreed to distribute films for Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks studio and plans to purchase Marvel Entertainment Inc., gaining rights to comic-book characters.
“He’s done a great job with the network and he’ll continue to focus the studio on franchise pictures,” Marangi said.
In an attempt to attract a wider audience of young males, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment, Inc.
According to President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger, this transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories. Iger believes Ike Perlmutter, the CEO of Marvel Entertainment, and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing those properties and have created significant value and that adding Marvel to Disney’s unique portfolio of brands provides significant opportunities for long-term growth and value creation.
On the Marvel side, Perlmutter says that Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses. “This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world,” says Perlmutter
Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Marvel including its more than 5,000 Marvel characters. Mr. Perlmutter will oversee the Marvel properties, and will work directly with Disney’s global lines of business to build and further integrate Marvel’s properties.