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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Would ABC Univision Merge Hurt CNN?

Reprinted from Politico by Dylan Byers

The talks between Disney and Univision have set media tongues wagging in anticipation of a new 24-hour news network that would compete with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News, and would likely have major ramifications for the cable news industry and for the national political discourse.

At the political level, an ABC News-Univision venture would mark the first 24-hour news network marketed toward English-speaking Hispanics, giving that rapidly growing demographic greater influence in the national discussion.

At the industry level, the new channel would upset the current cable news order, threatening to steal ratings and revenue from CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

No channel is likely to feel the pinch so much as Time Warner's CNN, which has struggled to keep abreast of MSNBC in the ratings race.

“This would go head-to-head with CNN,” a person with knowledge of the talks told the New York Times yesterday.

Should the two companies reach a deal, it may even force CNN to renew its own talks with CBS on a deal to combine news resources. Those talks, which had been going on sporadically for over a decade, resurfaced in May 2010.

"While such conversations have occurred over the last decade, the current news-business climate, plummeting CNN ratings, ever-shrinking evening-news audiences, and major layoffs at ABC make a deal more logical than ever before," New York magazine's Gabe Sherman reported at the time.

But the talks stalled (once again) and later that year CBS president and CEO Les Moonves acknowledged that the deal "doesn't look good."

"We tried ten years ago and we tried last year, it's just been a difficult thing," Moonves said. "It's hard to make a joint venture with a division of the company."

The Disney-Univision talks could stall as well, but there is reason to believe that this deal is far more promising.

Whereas both CNN and CBS were looking to stop losses, ABC and Univision are looking to capitalize on growth. CBS was eager to get out of the news business and CNN was "desperate to do something that [would] keep supporting its ever-diminishing business prospects," Michael Wolff observed at the time, arguing that both organizations were "ruined artifacts of a former age."

Univision, by contrast, belongs to the future, serving a U.S. Hispanic population that is set to double within the next forty years. And in addition to owning ABC News, Disney owns ESPN, a cash cow that generates roughly half the value of Disney's media holdings, according to industry estimates.

"In one structure under consideration, Disney would be responsible for both advertising sales and distribution," the Wall Street Journal reported, "so it could use the heft from its ESPN franchise to help sell the new channel to cable operators, people familiar with the negotiations said."

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Anonymous said...

Told ya. Diversity is the key. CNN should try a
prime time lineup designed to bring in viewers
18-49 year olds and viewers not interested in
the same tired old formulas in cable news.CNN
has to come up with a lineup that widens the
viewership pool. It can attract women, 18-49
& minorities. Cable news does not look like
America. Consider this lineup.

Hire Aisha Tyler for a brand new 7 PM show. She
is getting rave reviews for the Talk & she is very
sharp. Hire Jason Silva & Max Lugavere who get
modern evolving journalism. Add Isha Sesay in
the mix to the show news cred. If there is big
breaking news the show gets handed over to
Isha Sesay. These 4 would make a good team.

360 is up next at 8 . Anderson Cooper , Isha
Sesay & Team 360 in many ways are the only
thing that is giving CNN a pause.

George Strombo at 9 PM. That is exactly the
type of news show that 18-49 yr olds love.

Re- edit 360 at 10 with music and some other
segments with Anderson & the 360. Still have
Isha do the live news updates.

ABC sees millions of dollars in a market that
cable news ignores. Women & minorities. ABC
is a long way from being real. CNN could have
this all to themselves for the time being. 18-49,
women & minorities consume news. ABC also
knows that CNN has abandoned the news. You
hear that criticism a lot about CNN.

UNPREDICTABLE is what CNN needs to be when
it comes to the news. That is what the news is
on a daily basis. You never know what/when
news will happen but you will get i on CNN.
That is the road that CNN needs to travel.

Anonymous said...

CNN could start by pulling the plug on
Punditvision. Univsion is fast paced, CNN
has to get back to the facts and not lies.

Really Donald Trump ? Politics/Culture
Wars are media creations. The rest of us
have more interesting things that we are
talking about. Prop 8 is more googled
than the so-called controversy that
cable news is trying to stir up about
contraceptives and the Catholic Church.

Most Americans can't relate to cable news
anymore. TVN had some stats on the
average age of all 3. FNC is averaging 65.
CNN is at 63 and MSNBC is around 60.
That is not a good business model. CNN
has to attract new customers. It is a smart
move by Disney. All are averaging more than
their targeted demo.

Anon 10 : 44 Disney might try something
like that but CNN won't. However, the 1st
network to move away from partisan news
is going to win. None can even average 55.

Anonymous said...

JUST IN: Roland Martin Suspended from CNN.

Anonymous said...

So CNN suspends Roland Martin indefinitely but allows Erick Erickson to stay with the network after having made countless inflammatory and offensive remarks about gays, President Obama and the First Lady with no apology? At least Martin tried to clarify his remarks and apologized for them, something Erickson has NEVER done. Why doesn't CNN see Erickson as equally offensive? Seems like a troubling double standard to me.

Anonymous said...

It's quite telling that CNN would let Roland Martin, a liberal, go for his controversial remarks, but Erick Erickson and Dana Loesch, both conservatives, are allowed to stay on without ever having issued apologies for their offensive statements - something that Roland Martin DID do.

Anonymous said...

It is surprising that CNN domestic primetime lacks diversity. Literally, from TSR to the final replay of OutFront, the anchors have bright blue eyes. I find that hilarious since I don't even know that many blue-eyed people. Is that the new criteria to get an anchor job on CNN? They must have poll tested it and found people trust blue-eyed people more. Anyway, they are all caucasian. All gray-haired, except one. Ok, ok, piers isn't totally gray, yet. All male, except one. And to make the stereotypes complete, the young woman is the dumbest, most incompetent of the bunch, but hey, she looks pretty on TV. Maybe this ABC/Univision thing is a good idea after all!

Anonymous said...

Re: "ABC sees millions of dollars in a market that
cable news ignores. Women & minorities."

Not just "minorities," but Hispanics. The cable TV networks don't look like America at all. If CNN and MSNBC want to survive, they need to join the 21st century.