In the News


A New York Times piece earlier this month considered the possibility of an M&A deal between Comcast and General Electric for majority control of NBC Universal. The piece suggests that the deal would not only give Comcast a huge share of the cable market, in addition to control of its first broadcast network, it would also result in Comcast gaining “an important foothold in another area it has been trying to break into: digital media” when it acquires control of the NBC Universal owned website Hulu. The piece quotes analyst Craig Moffett who says, “I suspect what Comcast is looking for is some measure of control over the future of distribution”.

Interestingly, though, several of the contributors to the article have a different view of what the future may look like. Analyst Frederick W. Moran criticizes the strategy, saying that this vertical integration approach, giving Comcast control over production of content and distribution, “seems like a strategic plan of yesterday”. And during an appearance on Charlie Rose this week, writer Andrew Rose Sorkin suggested that GE’s willingness to make the deal may signal a shift in their future outlook as well. Sorkin characterized the move as GE saying “maybe we don’t want to be in the TV business anymore”. Obviously the issue isn’t quite that cut and dry, GE would still have 49% control of NBC Universal following a deal with Comcast, but Moran and Sorkin’s analyses raise some interesting questions. How would Comcast’s acquisition of media property currently held by Vivendi effect the balance of the big five? And does GE’s willingness to cede majority control of NBC Universal, which has underperfomed significantly in 2009, really signal a shift in TV’s importance in the portfolios of the top media companies?

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…in more than 140 characters.

Ever the diligent student, I’ve decided to do my homework in the blog-o-sphere. The real keys to success in grad school are a strong knowledge of your field and an intimate relationship with your alcoholic beverage of choice  (see below).  Below is the first of many posts inspired by my fields of study.

How did Twitter start you ask? Well apparently: “It all started with a “stupid” idea and a message about pinot noir.” I’ve always suspected that the road to genius is paved with booze! Check out the original WSJ blog post for more on the origins of Twitter and a potential IPO in their future.

Falling right in line with a recent class discussion, of Yochai Bekler’s The Wealth of Networks, the Times ran a story this weekend about user generated Twitter features. The article introduces the new features but also gives a nice history of user influence on the site: “Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.T. and author of the book “Democratizing Innovation.”

Still not atwitter? (sorry!) Check out this Harvard Business blog post about the viability (or at least existence) of Twitter’s business model.