Tom Freston: Media Conglomerates

Question: What is the future for big media conglomerates?

Tom Freston: Well their future is always . . . I mean their god is really the consumer, and how do they best in many . . . They’re basically in the content creation business. And a company like Viacom or News Corp, they create movies, television shows. You know they produce programming for the Internet – all the traditional type of programming. And they’re only gonna be as good at their game as the kind of people they have working there, or the cultures they have in place to really make the consumer connection. I really do believe that if you can build a connection with the consumer – and that’s generally built on the quality of your creative product – all the other things that really need to happen for you to make business . . . to make a good business out of it should much more easily fall into place. So at the heart of it is really your creative aptitude and all the things that go into maintaining and doing that. So I wouldn’t write off any of those companies. They have considerable assets and resources. They may have their ups or downs, but at the end of the day they’ve got a good head start over others. They’re fully able, I suppose, to get obsolete. But I wouldn’t say that all the big media companies would have, you know . . . that someone might fall on hard times, the company might get broken up and sold. But I don’t think in the end none of the businesses that they’re gonna go . . . that any of them are gonna go out of style. They may get more difficult. In many ways the Internet opens up huge new opportunities for them, and you see all of these companies beginning to sort of master that space and get better at it; and acquiring companies that are in that space.

Recorded On: 7/6/07

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