Monday, July 18, 2011

"I invested in a company called News Corp .." "Dad, that's Fox!" "Argh! Undo, undo!"

Funny line from the 1999 Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" but it got terribly serious today with one of the whistle blowers being found dead and PM David Cameron cutting short a visit to South Africa (presumably in part to honour Nelson Mandela on his 93rd birthday) so there can be an emergency debate in Parliament on Wednesday regarding all the scandals surrounding Murdoch, Inc.

Meanwhile, the stock in News Corporation has dropped almost 20 percent since the beginning of the month.

It's hard not to say we told you so but convergence never was going to work.    Take MySpace ... it was bought by News Corp for about $580 million in 2005 and quickly jumped in valuation to over $12 billion -- before Facebook started to catch on.   Towards the beginning of the year, Murdoch gave the money loser six months to shape up or shut down.   Just in time for the deadline, it was sold -- for a paltry $35 million.

Remember when the networks competed with each other to get the blockbusters on TV?   And all of them had "Movies of the Week" which was event television?   You can imagine the bidding war for Schindler's List which ended getting nearly 80 million viewers when it was showed on NBC without commercials (thanks to a gracious buyout of ad time from Ford).   Now it's Disney-ABC, Comcast-Universal-NBC, Viacom-CBS and -- well, Fox.    Paramount tried a TV network as did Warner, but except for a few hits most shows were duds, the networks merged into the CW which is basically CBS2 and the leftover affiliates formed MYTV which is really Fox2.

It's time to break up these oligopolies.    Maybe the EU, which the UK is a member of (albeit tepidly) can use its anti-competition legislation.   After all, it had the guts to stand up to Microsoft.

UPDATE (Tues July 19, 2011 9:16 am EDT, 1316 GMT):   Updating the double mention of Universal -- of course it was Paramount who tried its hand at a TV network and which eventually merged its ops with Warner's).


WesternGrit said...

I"m with you 120% in regards to breaking up the media oligopolies. If we love our democracy, we must act NOW!

While you're at it, please join, as we combat ridiculous internet rates - and unprecedented piracy of public resources by media robber-barons.

Such concentration of power is bad for end users, businesses, and our young democracy.

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