Wrapping up my week filling in for Wayne Friedman on TV Watch, I figured I'd do a little roundup of relevant news and a bit of analysis, starting with what likely is the biggest story of the week. No, it's not about Madonna -- it's about Disney's potential sale of ABC and if reports are true, to burgeoning media conglomerate Byron Allen Media.
American Broadcasting Company
The story is interesting for me because one of the earliest TV stories I covered was when a relatively obscure TV station group -- Capital Cities -- surprisingly acquired ABC Inc. in 1985 for $3.5 billion. Disney subsequently acquired Capital Cities/ABC Inc. ten years later for $19 billion, capping off one of the most storied network TV assets plays in history. Don't forget -- ABC originally started as a spinoff of NBC (it was originally the NBC Blue Network).
Not long after Disney became ABC's owner, I recall Disney chief Bob Iger blustering around the network's affiliates meeting that if the stations didn't get in line, Disney might one day consider bypassing them and going direct-to-consumers. It was in the pre-streaming era, so I think the threat was using satellite TV technology, but it's interesting that is finally coming close to reality.
The Alt Currency Shakeup
We started the week with a bit of alternative currency marketplace consolidation -- iSpot's acquisition of rival 605 -- and we're ending it with a cash infusion, as well as a paradoxical spate of layoffs, at another: VideoAmp. VideoAmp announced a Series G round of private equity funding raising $150 million in capital to accelerate its growth. If my math is correct, that makes that VideoAmp's seventh round. More importantly, why is it laying off 10% of its staff when it's getting all that money to fuel its growth?
Hollywood Strike vs. Television Reach
Today's Planning & Buying Insider broke a story about new consumer research from radio giant Cumulus Media / Westwood One indicating that about a quarter of linear TV viewers plan to watch less TV this fall due to the strikes. What we left out was a companion analysis released by the company showing how radio can be a replacement for the loss in TV audience reach.
The analysis, which is based on Nielsen data (see below), shows that AM/FM radio can replace TV’s lost reach, by reallocating 20% of a TV ad budgets. I wouldn't be surprised if other media start putting out TV reach replacement studies.