Hostile bid makes best TV in U.S. broadcast fight

September 28, 2015

Nexstar wants to buy Media General for $4.1 bln, breaking up the latter’s agreed merger with Meredith. The new offer makes financial sense for Media General owners and would create a local TV player minus the baggage of magazines. The mystery is why Nexstar wasn’t first choice.

Disney could use Time Warner cord-cutting tips

August 5, 2015

The entertainment giant insists on selling cable shows in a bundle, despite losses at ESPN attributable to growing viewer preference for buying à la carte. Time Warner is benefiting from the trend, offering HBO separately. A business built on TV’s status quo looks like fantasy.

BBC needs good pruning, not root-and-branch change

July 16, 2015

UK lawmakers are questioning the broadcaster's remit. Its 3.7 bln stg pseudo-state funding is anticompetitive. But while the BBC, like the monarchy and NHS, comes from another era, reformers need to be careful. A "bonsai" BBC – smaller and stronger – might be worth cultivating.

Charter deal may not be final word on Bright House

March 31, 2015

The $10.4 bln acquisition, contingent on Comcast buying Time Warner Cable, suggests some confidence those rivals will get approval. If not, however, the U.S. cable puzzle could realign. Charter again might chase Time Warner Cable, which actually has first dibs on Bright House.

Netflix stock horror follows familiar script

October 16, 2014

The film and TV streaming service lost $7 billion of market value after it signed up fewer new subscribers than expected. Even for one of the most-shorted and volatile stocks, a 25 percent decline is notable. And yet investors have seen this movie many times before.

Anarchical Vice Media makes orthodoxy a virtue

September 5, 2014

The bad boy of news and entertainment is now worth $2.5 bln. Unlike some Silicon Valley upstarts, though, Vice sold more than a sliver of itself and raised real money: $500 mln. Disney, Hearst and Fox are among its backers. For all the iconoclasm, there are old-school traits.

TV broadcasters missing big picture in Aereo fight

August 29, 2014

CBS, Disney and others oppose the Barry Diller-backed streaming startup’s rebirth as a cable firm. But conceding could put online services and, say, Time Warner Cable on equal legal footing and create more competition for content. That’s a win for viewers and networks alike.

Cisco’s John Chambers falls off the M&A wagon

March 15, 2012

Less than a year ago, the networking giant’s boss, in an unusual mea culpa, forswore big deals and promised discipline. Now, he’s shelling out $5 bln for NDS, a pay TV software firm. But this acquisition might deliver justifiable returns and fit nicely with Cisco’s strategy.

Taiwanese money can’t save Japan from Samsung

March 29, 2012

Foxconn’s $1.6 bln investment into Sharp buys Japan’s electronics company time. But there’s a huge glut in flat-panel screens and the likes of Sharp, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba may be fighting a losing battle against the Koreans. As Hitachi has shown, it may be best to withdraw.

Comcast deal extends content’s precarious reign

July 11, 2012

Feuds between U.S. TV program creators and distributors are as ugly as the one in “Hatfields & McCoys.” So the $19 bln valuation implied by Comcast’s sale of a stake in the hit show’s parent company A&E is impressive. But fee fights like DirecTV and Viacom’s are the future.