A variety of media executives delivered their views,
positive and negative, on the Comcast NBC Universal get together at the
Bloomberg Businessweek media summit Wednesday, March 10.
Reveille managing partner, Howard T. Owens, wondered what
the impact of the deal on the independent production community might be, once
"The sharp stick is the fact that there are no more
indies... If you're Reveille and you cant control any kind of upside if you
have the next Survivor, ultimately that would be a disincentive for good
Reveille produces The Office and The Biggest Loser for NBC.
Separately, Standard & Poor equity analyst, Tuna Amobi,
wondered why the supposed synergies frequently touted as a benefit of such mega
mergers, weren't articulated. Speaking at the Summit
in New York,
"What we've been telling our clients is do not invest in
Comcast simply because you expect it to throw off synergies."
Amobi compared the deal to Livenation/Ticketmaster merger
where the legal conditions of the deal were expected to cost millions of
"I would argue that Comcast and NBC conditions will be much
harsher, expect stringent conditions about program access and net neutrality."
Discovery's president of digital media and corporate
development, Bruce Campbell spoke up in favor of the deal saying:
"If you look at the structure, Comcast is already in the
content business. They were able to get a pretty good deal."
The panelists also touched on the subject of how Apple is
transforming the media business and what monies might flow from new
technologies, Owens commented:
"I feel like The Office is the most downloaded TV show in
history and the money isn't that great. Pricing seems a little unfair."
Pricing is a big topic of conversation between big media
companies and Apple with content producers eager to move Apple towards more
variable pricing. Speaking to B&C
after the event, Kevin Conroy, President of Univision Interactive Media, said
Univision is talking to Apple about making its shows available on iTunes.
Conroy said he thinks the company's variety shows would be most appropriate for
mobile platforms. Speaking as part of the panel, he said:
"There really hasn't been that much experimentation around
pricing. If the technology player was in fact more a platform and creators and
consumers could engage and experiment with prices that would be a far more
engaging robust model."