Archive for January, 2010

Successful Mergers in the Media Industry

January 26, 2010

The crisis is fostering consolidations in the media industry. Operations of concentration help to reduce costs and allow to better face the increasing number of competitors. But, according to most analists, more than 70% of mergers do not add value for shareholders.

We provide some suggestions for developping successful mergers and acquisitions:

– Prepare a good analysis. Be a bit sceptical about the synergies that you will create.

– Forget the “big words” -credibility, diversification of risks, internationalization…- and look at the real data: income, costs, debt, profit margins.

– Write the plan for “the day after”: tasks, deadlines, people in charge of each goal…

– Look at the intangible benefits you will get: new knowledge and new competences, more talent and creativity, more valuable brands…

– Do not overestimate the benefits of size and economies of scale. Do not forget the risks of burocracy and lack of focus.

– Try to armonize the two organizations’ cultures fostering internal dialogue.

– Pay attention to the little details of implementation.

Media Concentration in the World

January 19, 2010

From 1960 to 2000 there were a controversy about concentration of media companies all over the world. Sometimes, media moguls were described as people who did not care about their media outlets’ impact on society because they were only focused on how to increase profits and shareholder value. During that period, big media companies became more international, more diversified, more horizontally and vertically integrated, and more powerful.

What is going on nowdays? Are media markets more concentrated? The answer depends on how we define markets. If we analize the newspaper market or the magazine market, we will identify a trend towards more concentration in most countries. But if we take the “information market” (including online services, radio news networks, 24 hours news TV channels, blogs and other user generated contents) it is obvious that there are less players whith dominant positions and less bottlenecks in the value chains. That applies both to news markets and entertainment markets.

If media markets are less concentrated, it is time to change some legal frameworks which made sense in the old times but which are inefficient and oldfashioned when choice for consumers is almost limitless. (That, of course, applies only to free market societies but not to state-controlled economies like China, Cuba or North Korea).

Internet as a Battlefield for Media Companies

January 12, 2010

Internet has changed the “rules of the game” for media companies: it has destoyed the big music companies’ distribution advantages; it has allowed the launching of online news services which means more competition for newspapers and magazines; it has increased the windows for audiovisual services; it has fostered the launching of new offers in the market like social networks, blogs and other user generated contents.

Managers of media companies should pay attention to this new battlefield: they should understand who are the winners and what are the reasons for their success.

Amazon, Google, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, BBC News Online, YouTube… do they have any similar key success factors? We suggest here some “Internet winners’s” common values: they have highly motivated people; innovative culture; long-term focus; attitude of embracing uncertainty; lack of ties with past experences; openess to learn from experiments and from errors; strategic foresight which combines different methods and perspectives.