Think big — really big. Perhaps with the names Google, Netflix, Facebook, or Twitter involved with some major content providers -- or perhaps a deal might involve two traditional media companies.
It was just a little over a year ago that 21st Century Fox made a play for Time Warner -- only to get shunned. Apart from that, we have been short of those big name, big media mergers, only getting news recently of long-awaited approval AT&T received for DirecTV.
Regulatory concerns are one factor. But considering media stocks’ turbulent ride over the last month, perhaps the media environment is changing.
If lower traditional TV ratings continue -- and traditional TV advertising dollars continue to sag -- it won’t be long some senior TV strategic media executive will offer up new possibilities and synergies.
Now really think outside the box -- along the lines of the Fox-Time Warner deal. Federal regulatory considerations aside, could one imagine that say, two big TV networks could combine -- especially where one is severely lagging?
For the last two years Fox, for example has sunk the deepest of any of the four networks, losing 15% or so in each season in viewership -- even including the top-rating results of “Empire” this past season.
One media buyer commented to TV Watch that if Fox continues on this track, for him, that network will be akin to a “cable network.”
All this might sound far-fetched. As a network, Fox has ample resources and programming assets thanks in large part to the likes of the NFL. It also has the strong backing of TV station affiliates looking for premium TV programming content.
Still, during and after the failed raid on Time Warner, many of the industry’s senior TV executives were constantly asked pressing questions: Would you seek a big media partner -- as a buyer or perhaps a seller? Few are ready to give up that kind of information — though all are ready to discuss pursuing higher shareholder value.
In the continuing entropy of the TV industry’s quickly changing roadmap -- as well as talks of cord-cutting, lower affiliate and advertising revenues, and new digital incursions -- bigger changes are seemingly coming.