Hot Topic - Time Warner and CNN
Nobody in business, media or otherwise, wants to be the little guy. Hence, all executives are schooled in thinking big. Their bankers tell them to think big because the paper work for a big deal is just the same as a small deal. There is no incentive to be anything but big.
Strong news brands, by and large, have discovered two things recently. Number one is the fragility, to be generous, of advertising revenues, digital and otherwise. Second and just as important is the rise of subscription revenue for big news brands like the New York Times and the Guardian. In addition, though most significantly in the US market, is the Trump Effect, passionate foes and fans of US president Donald Trump are paying to see what they want to see.
The digital age has made one factor more important than all others: scale. To thrive, if not only survive, media operators view consolidation as primary business strategy. Shareholders and stock traders agree; other insecurities pale. Above all, what is familiar is favored.
Executives are much happier exploring new opportunities than tackling headaches arising from the normal course of business. Shareholders are only happy when profits and dividends flow. The most successful - and thriving - management strategies keep sharp attention on happiness. When throbbing headaches invade the spirit pain relief becomes an object. Holidays are helpful.
The great digital dividend has opened vast new opportunities for film and television productions, not to forget animation, games and live events. And the demand for all that is creating more demand, a cycle, perhaps virtuous, maybe silly. Shareholders have their demands, too; sometimes not in synch with anything else. With so much fun - and money - available nobody seems to want to share.
Companies move through stages, entirely predictable. Financial investors also have their phases. Circumstances, certainly, dictate much of the flow but, like the sun rises and sets, investors move on to newer opportunities. Companies either evolve or fade away.
Itís the season for change agents. Helicoptered in from the home office, turn-around specialists are single-minded and short on patience. They prefer core businesses, preferably with fewer employees. Competitors, though, are happy to see them.
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