The stock market is getting frothy again over hefty bets being placed on the exploding value of companies poised to capitalize on an improving economy and the rousing digital revolution. But it's time to slow down and take a hard look at what's really happening.
The newly merged Comcast NBC Universal's biggest problem isn't outmoded prime-time ratings or over-the-top threats to cable television. It is the absence of a compelling, coordinated social-networking strategy to aid the challenging integration of its content and distribution businesses.
ESPN, one of television's most powerful brands, has everything it takes to be an interactive powerhouse -- from engaged fans tethered to their mobile devices and videogame consoles to live events that are a magnate for consumers and marketers.
Comcast's imminent takeover of NBC Universal will create the most expansive and challenged corporate arena for embracing trends in mobile commerce, paid content and hyper-local connectivity. The merger will redefine media in 2011.