December 6, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Provided the deal satisfies regulators’ concerns, NBC Universal will soon be controlled by a cable provider. Comcast’s purchase of a controlling stake of NBC’s amalgam of channels and properties could bring about some big changes in broadcast entertainment over the coming years.

Σε εξέλιξη οι προβλεφθείσες αναγκαίες συγχωνεύσεις για τους σοβαρούς παίκτες στο κατακλυσμιαία μεταλλασσόμενο τοπίο των media. Τα πιεστήρια του 2010 ειναι οι πάροχοι των τηλεπικοινωνιών, η “ύλη” το ψηφιακό περιεχόμενο σε οποιαδήποτε μορφή, ο γάμος παρόχων και παραγωγών περιεχομένου αναγκαίος μονόδρομος…
Στην Ελλάδα, οι μεγάλοι των media προσπαθούν ακόμα να καταλάβουν πως παίζεται το άθλημα με τα νέα εκρηκτικά τεχνολογικά δεδομένα, αφου τα στελέχη τους στην πλειονότητά τους προέρχονται απο χώρους εκτός τεχνολογίας. Το πρόβλημα ειναι τεράστιο, διότι οι διοικητικές θέσεις καλύπτονται απο σχεδόν αμόρφωτους τεχνολογικά, εκτός εποχής και τεχνολογικής επιχειρησιακής πραγματικότητος μεσήλικες που πεισματικά αρνούνται να επιμορφωθούν και να προσαρμοστούν στις διαρθρωτικές αλλαγές και επιταγές που αποτελούν μονόδρομο για τις εταιρείες media που κουμαντάρουν. Ο τοίχος πλησιάζει με πολλά χιλιόμετρα ταχύτητα για πολλά μαγαζιά του χώρου.
Οπως σχολίασε και ο κος Ραγκούσης, η Ελλάδα των φοριαμών θα γίνει η Ελλάδα του Ιντερνετ. Ετσι κι αλλιώς, δεν γίνεται αλλιώς, οι ισολογισμοί στενάζουν και οι τράπεζες φωνάζουν. Οι μαύρες τρύπες στα λογιστήρια των ελληνικών ΜΜΕ απειλούν με εξαφάνιση μετα τον οργανισμό της κας Αγγελοπούλου σχεδόν το σύνολό τους…

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK) just bought itself a nice little present for the holidays:

NBC Universal.

The cable network will have a controlling stake in NBC once the deal is flattened out, and in return, it’s giving General Electric (NYSE: GE) US$6.5 billion along with $7.25 billion worth of programming. If everything passes muster with regulators, then Comcast will go from being a company that just distributes creative content to one that makes and distributes it.

Clearing regulators is not necessarily going to be a cakewalk, though. Already some members of Congress are calling for hearings to determine the merger’s impact on consumers. What happens in those hearings may force Comcast to make some concessions.

But what if the deal goes down pretty much the way Comcast wants it? Well, you may see a lot of funny things happening. There may be some strange changes in store for NBC and the cable channels that fall under NBC’s umbrella. You may not have the same access to online TV shows through portals like Hulu, and you might not able to find a football game you want to watch next season. Your cable line-up could be different, even if you’re not a Comcast customer, and maybe you’ll see a change in what you pay for television.

Comcast is a big cable player and a big ISP; now it’ll be a big producer of a lot of shows that get played through those channels, and that raises some questions. For instance, is it going to let Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) carry the USA Network, or will people have to switch to Comcast in order to get their nine hours of “Law and Order” per day? Will it let DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) broadcast the game if it’s on NBC Sports? Will it let you access Hulu through your Comcast broadband connection, or will it make you bundle in a cable plan as well — or will it let you access it only if you’re a Comcast subscriber? Is Comcast going to jack up NBC licensing fees to other cable companies, forcing them to jack up their prices to customers?

I guess we’ll just have to be patient — “30 Rock” will explain everything eventually, I’m sure.

Free Press

A few weeks ago, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said he wanted to do something about getting those Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) kids to stay off his lawn — metaphorically speaking, of course. He was talking about protecting News Corp.’s (Nasdaq: NWS) online publications like the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The Google News aggregator page sends an incredible number of readers to those publications and thousands of other pubs every day. But Murdoch doesn’t think the traffic’s worth it, especially since Google users can sometimes get around the Wall Street Journal’s paywall by using its First Click Free feature — over and over again. So after Murdoch talked about maybe cutting his publications off from Google completely, the search engine came up with a new way for publishers to connect their sites with Google News. The so-called five clicks free option lets a user read five articles behind a publication’s paywall per day. Once you’re done with those stories, you get no more of their content until tomorrow, unless you care to buy a subscription. This might be interpreted as a blink or capitulation on the part of Google, which has been playing a sort of slow-moving game of chicken with publishers for months. The timing certainly suggests it’s a reaction to Murdoch’s threats. But Kathy Gill with the University of Washington’s digital media program has a different take. She pointed out to us that publishers have always had the option to shut Google News’ Web crawlers out of their sites completely.If they really don’t want to get picked up on Google News, there’s an easy way to avoid it. It’s just that they’ve chosen not to. Even the Wall Street Journal, which is one of the only major online publications to successfully demand subscription fees from readers, allows its content to be accessed for free by Google News users.The Journal is on the First Click Free program, which could theoretically let you read almost the entire paper at no charge every day, as long as you read each article exactly once and access it through Google. So perhaps this five-clicks-free setting is more about Google offering a more moderate option than the all-or-nothing extremes.

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