Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, February 07, 2021

Oh, that wacky Carl Icahn. In the ongoing quest to take down Time Warner, the famed corporate raider got his investment banking partner Lazard to issue a lengthy recommendation for breaking up the world’s largest media company into four separate parts.

The disassociated foursome:

  • AOL - Because it’s not really dead/obsolete, the thinking goes — it’s just not nimble enough as part of a conglomerate to morph into a viable online player.
  • A “content company” - Basically, Warner Brothers, HBO and the rest of the television/movie properties. Not sure why Lazard is characterizing this portion as strictly a content play.
  • A publishing house - Presumably, a reconstituted Time Inc., which would initially consist purely of magazine publishing now that Time Warner Book Group’s been jettisoned.
  • Time Warner Cable - The digital pipes, and the nation’s largest cable provider second-largest cable provider (well behind No. 1 Comcast). Probably the one spinoff that makes the most sense, especially in terms of the expanding service offering of digital phone and broadband Internet. In fact, this is just an overkill of TW’s existing plans to sell off 18 percent of the cable unit.

The argument is that bigger ain’t better — contradicting the overriding corporate wisdom of the ’90s that brought TW into existence. Michael Wolff gives good insight into the rationalization, especially in how it makes TW a rudderless ship and, thus, almost beside the point.

As much as the synergistic energies never quite congealed, Icahn couldn’t care less about whether or not the parts will end up greater than the sum here. He’s looking to unlock the share values, and a breakup is the quick-fix way to do it. It doesn’t represent any new thinking on his part; the mentality is identical to his famed rape-and-pillage tactics from the ’80s. The only difference is the mechanism being used.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 08:51 PM
Category: Business, Media
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one, not done?It’s been a couple of weeks since “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” was unceremoniously dumped after a single episode.

So why does the show still reside on ABC’s website, listed along with the rest of the network’s primetime roster? With a tantalizing “To Be Determined” airdate for the next episode?

Maybe they’re waiting to see if star Heather Graham manages to somehow get even hotter.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 07:43 PM
Category: Internet, TV
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I would love to link to the Technology article in this month’s issue of Inc. Magazine. Not so much because I’m interested in the topic — the use of wikis as corporate alternative to project-management-by-email — but because The Media Drop’s Tom Biro is quoted throughout, in his role as tech guy at MWW Group.

Unfortunately, Inc. doesn’t seem to have that particular February selection online. Nor does Tom toot his own horn. So I guess I’ll just make a note here that I came across it, and have that suffice.

Incidentally, today was the first time I’d picked up an issue of Inc. in a dog’s age. I was so pleased with it, I think I’ll pony up for a subscription to the print version. (Would I be doing that if the entire issue were available on the Web? Even with the smooth layout found in those pages, I wonder…)

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 06:56 PM
Category: Internet, Publishing
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a challengeShould the National Hockey League ever decide to write off a whole season again, its prized championship trophy needn’t take the year off as well.

A lawsuit brought by Toronto fans challenging the league’s exclusivity over the Stanley Cup has, improbably, been settled. The NHL agrees that the Cup can be awarded to non-league teams in the absense of an NHL season. Thus, the trophy can, theoretically at least, revert to its original status as a challenge cup.

Seems to open up a can of worms. Could teams from other professional leagues on other continents make a run for the Cup, not to mention amateur groups? Would they be allowed to engrave their team info onto the thing, as NHL winners now do?

I guess the safeguard, from the league’s standpoint, is that it would take unusual circumstances for an entire season to be wiped out again (although one could argue that, since it happened once, the taboo has been lifted). And the agreement only says the Cup’s trustees “could” award it to others — doesn’t mean they ever will. It’s probably all just symbolic.

Still, if you’ve got a wicked beer league, start getting primed up!

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 01:44 PM
Category: Hockey
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So how do the casting agents for “Wife Swap” find suckers contestants to come on the show?

Apparently, they troll the myriad mommyblogs out there for takers.

An online farm system for reality television. It almost makes me wish blogs had never been invented.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 12:29 PM
Category: Bloggin', RealiTV Check, Society
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There’s been a TV commercial running the last few days, pushing the idea of a Vermont Teddy Bear as the perfect Valentine’s Day alternative gift for your honey.

The commercial’s got a distinctly el cheapo quality to it, with a voiceover announcer reminiscent of infomercial production standards. The actors look like they were recruited from Vermont Teddy Bear’s loading dock and/or the local strip club. Poor presentation throughout.

The real tragedy, though, is that more than one poor schlub is going to fall for this sucker’s pitch. I might not know terribly much about women, but I know this: If you try to substitute a stuffed bear — even a $70 one — in place of the expected dinner, flowers, jewelry or other traditional expressions of affection, you’re asking for a world of hurt. At best, the furry bauble can be part of the mix, but no woman’s gonna go for it being the star attraction on I Heart You Day.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 02/07/2021 11:40 AM
Category: Society, Women
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