NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While I accept that I could be the man hurling rocks on a Billy Joel album cover, I often wonder if Henry Blodget -- a man whose success motivates me daily -- thinks through some of the theses he fires off at the wall.
Last June at Business Insider, Blodget argued that the television business was "starting to collapse." A few days later, I wrote a retort, which was pretty much ignored (do I need any more motivation?). In Rumors of Television's Death Are Premature (I probably just needed a better title), I took Blodget to task on two primary counts:
1. He used the decline of the newspaper to predict the death of television, particularly things like networks and cable subscriptions, at the hands of cord-cutting and new ways of viewing.
2. He ignores the reality that the same companies who control the present dominant model also control the content that fuels most consumption. (Newspapers never controlled content; they merely disseminated it to the masses. They failed to see shifting consumption patterns, thus they died. Old guard media sees the pattern, they have responded to it and effectively own it).To nutshell it, Blodget makes a great argument if your goal is merely to get people to agree with you. It's a bit like George Bush asking if you hate freedom; few people want to stand up and defend rotten media conglomerates against tortured souls who pay $100 a month for 100 channels, but only watch four of them. But, as usual, it's not that simple. It's not the dichotomy Blodget makes it out to be. And it's not about this battle Blodget hallucinates of "networks" and "cable operators" vs. Netflix (NFLX), Apple's (AAPL) iTunes and a handful of still-standing "uber-networks" such as NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast (CMCSA)) and Time Warner (TWX). Where to begin? First, with the obvious: You can't bring up Comcast and Time Warner -- two excellent companies -- without mentioning Disney (DIS) and News Corp (NWSA). Between these four major players, other large and small content providers they're likely to gobble up and the delivery systems, you have the old guard media.
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