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afwriter
afwriter
4/29/2016 2:06:08 AM
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Platinum
Of Course
Of course a day after I predict Comcast's demise they go an pull this.  They wouldn't have become the company they are without business savvy.  Diversification like this will keep them going for years; heck, Nintendo started off in the 1800s as a playing card company. 

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
4/29/2016 7:45:44 AM
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Platinum
Re: Virtually Breathless :)))
I don't know, @mpouraryan, I kind of hope that somebody somewhere in the Big Content world will be willing to exercise their power irresponsibly. Socially, politically, and most of all artistically, it's getting to be a pretty closed loop; does anyone really think radio is better and/or does more good since ClearChannel and its competitors got big enough to standardize the product? Or really want to go back to three networks (one only kept alive for antittrust purposes)?

At some point we'll tip back into a Price's Law situation for content; this just looks like another step in that direction to me.

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
4/29/2016 7:57:51 AM
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Platinum
Re: Of Course
@afwriter, every day on my way to work I drive past the company headquarters of Ball, which started out making jars for home canning (they don't anymore but their trademark is licensed by a spinoff company), and made artillery shells for WW2, built satellites for NASA in the 1960s, and today is big in avionics -- and recyclable aluminum cans.

They're currently making major investments in big data and data science.

The difference may or may not be that some companies diversify to gain expertise and opportunity, and some seem to diversify to narrow it. Comcast has had a pretty stodgy leadership; it will be interesting to see whether the Dreamworks spirit invigorates them, or they excercise the sort of slow crush-and-dampen that Sony seems to have done on creative companies.

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afwriter
afwriter
4/29/2016 10:14:42 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Of Course
@JohnBarnes I enjoy your shared skeptism about anything Comcast does.  Is it possible that we have some "comcast customer only"  Dreamworks material coming?  I also wonder what this will do with Netflix's deal with Dreamworks?

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Mike Robuck
Mike Robuck
4/29/2016 10:22:27 AM
User Rank
Author
Re: Of Course
@John Barnes I didn't know that about Ball. I used to drive by a Ball factory in Boulder, Colo. many years ago, and we have third and fourth generation Ball canning jars. 

 But back to Comcast, I think this is a hedge against video declines down the road. Comcast wants to be a content provider like Disney. There was a lot of doom and gloom along the same lines when it bought NBCUniversal. The FCC attached some strict rules on that purchase (more diversity programming was one.) I agree with afwriter, here's hoping Comcast doesn't squash DreamWorks creative thinking. 

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clrmoney
clrmoney
4/29/2016 10:22:32 AM
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Platinum
Comcast and Dreamworks
I wonder how will this work out between those two wil be better or worse for business etc.

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dcawrey
dcawrey
4/29/2016 4:01:00 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Entertainment Domain
Very interesting to see service providers like Comcast and Verizon purchase content companies. I think they both realize being in the content game makes them stand out more that just offering connectivity services, whether that's broadband or wireless. 

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faryl
faryl
4/29/2016 11:28:23 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Of Course
I didn't know that about Nintendo!

Googled to read more about that and found this tidbit that seems somewhat particularly relevant to this post:

"In the late 1950s, Hiroshi Yamauchi, then-president of Nintendo, made two consequential visits to the United States. His first visit was to the United States Playing Card Company, at the time the largest card making company in the world. On his visit there he had hoped to find ways in which to enlarge his own company, but went away in astonishment that it was very similar in size to Nintendo. His second visit was to The Walt Disney Company. There, he would discuss the possibility of distributing playing cards baring the likenesses of Disney's properties in Japan. He successfully bargained with them and returned home with one of the most lucrative licenses in the entire world. With access to several Disney characters, Nintendo aired their first television commercial. The success of the Disney cards was so substantial that Nintendo's profits tripled and they were allowed to join the Osaka and Kyoto stock exchange"

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faryl
faryl
4/29/2016 11:31:50 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Entertainment Domain
Great article! Thanks for sharing -

I'll be interested to see how things turn out with this part in particular:

"while Katzenberg will take on the role of consultant to NBCUniversal. Katzenberg will also be chairman of a new division called DreamWorks New Media, overseeing entities like AwesomenessTV, a thriving digital network aimed at millennials in which DWA owns a controlling stake."

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JohnBarnes
JohnBarnes
4/30/2016 12:27:48 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Of Course
@afwriter,

Well, content has a way of escaping from sole-provider deals that is amazing to observe, so amazing that people who have seen it a hundred times don't believe it.  There is ultimately only temporary money in "X-only" content deals; "only" has a tendency to collapse under even very slight pressures.

Publishers are more realistic: for generations, magazines and book publishers tended to buy "First" or "Reprint" rights for "Region" and for narrow uses (magazine v. bound volume, etc.). Hence what many writers in my generation learned to sell to the US market: "First North American Serial Rights," meaning the right to be the first company, with a short exclusivity period, to publish the work in a magazine or newspaper circulated on the continent of North America. ("North American" because magazines moved freely between the US and Canada and almost as freely between US and Mexico). This wasn't because publishers didn't prefer "All Rights Forever Everywhere" -- most did -- but they knew realistically that FNASR was enforceable and "All Rights" required a defensive effort far beyond the value of the item.

Content distributors keep dreaming of a perpetual lock on highly in-demand content. But it's not possible. If it's highly in demand, that lock will be broken, legally or not.

 

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