Big is the new small
Who needs competition when you have a nice big merger to complete? After 13 months of Congressional haggling that would have put John McCain to shame, Sirius chief Mel Karmazin won U.S. Department of Justice approval for his $5 billion marriage with XM Satellite Radio.
Sure they’re the only two subscription radio operators, but with all those iTunes downloads and Web radio personalities, there’s no need to think anyone will suffer with Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey in their exclusive hands.
Most expect the FCC will come through with the final green-light for XM and Sirius to close the deal, and then the real work on actually making money from satellite will begin.
We’re still a little stuck on the regulatory landscape that seems to err on the side of bigness, from Verizon and AT&T’s billion-dollar wireless spectrum wins, to a push from underdogs like Microsoft and Google to use the blank spaces of TV spectrum for mobile Internet and the ability to even contemplate a scenario in which Rupert Murdoch buys Newsday.
Let the games begin.
Keep an eye on:
- Google unveiled plans for a new generation of wireless devices to operate on soon-to-be-vacant television airwaves, and sought to alleviate fears that this might interfere with TV broadcasts or wireless microphones. (Reuters)
- Fox Broadcasting asked U.S. regulators to reconsider indecency fines the government imposed last month on 13 Fox television stations for airing episodes of a reality TV show in 2003. (Reuters)
- Hulu video site looks great, but in terms of consistently good service, not so much. (Silicon Alley Insider)
- The CEO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment tells the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German!) that the company is developing an online music subscription service that would give users unlimited access to its music and be compatible with a host of digital music players.
(Photo: Reuters / Mel Karmazin)