Seth Shapiro\'s Business Innovation Blog

As of a few hours ago, rumors suggest that Comcast, the #1 TV provider in the US, as well as the owner of NBC, its family of cable networks including NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, Universal Pictures and many other assets, will additionally acquire Time Warner Cable, the #3 provider of TV in the US. This comes on the heels of a new hostile takeover attempt by Charter Cable to reseat all of TWC’s existing Board.
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Keith Richards once said that hearing rock and roll turned his childhood from black and white into technicolor.  Those moments happen. They’re the inflection points of art and culture, the wind that turns the sails. They’re the moments when artists sear themselves into the consciousness of new audiences, change those audiences, and change the world.

On February 7, 1999 an anxiety-ridden thug went from padding down his driveway in a fluffy white bathrobe to garroting an enemy while his daughter interviewed for college.

No one did that on television.
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There’s been a media blitz over Netflix’s House Of Cards, and how revolutionary it is.

House Of Cards  is the most interesting show of the year. But it’s not revolutionary. Let’s break it down.

1. Exploding Commercial TV

House of Cards and Netflix have not exploded the restrictions of TV (show length, plot resolution) that endured for decades.

The Sopranos and HBO did that, by altering length of content from week to week and doing way with the need commercial breaks.
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They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it,
death cannot kill what never dies.
Nor can spirits ever be divided that love 
and live in the same divine principle, 
the root and record of their friendship.
If absence be not death, neither is theirs.
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; 
they live in one another still.
For they must needs be present, 
that love and live in that which is ominipresent.
In this divine glass, they see face to face;
and their converse is free as well as pure.
This is the comfort of friends, 
that though they may be said to die, 
yet their friendship and society are, 
in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.

– William Penn

Rest easy brother – see you later.

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. … I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion… to right this wrong.”

– Steve Jobs

I don’t know if Aaron Sorkin was listening, but the coda of the Steve Jobs story may have been written in San Jose this week.

While Jobs was alive, his MacWorld keynote was timed to steal the thunder from the Consumer Electronics Show, the industry’s largest trade show and Vegas’ biggest event of the year.
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The following article originally appeared in PBS Media Shift.

It’s become popular to declare the imminent demise of pay television. Whether at the hands of Google/YouTube, or as a product of cord-cutting, there’s usually a sense of righteous indignation embedded in the arguments, something like: Cable and satellite companies have been ripping off consumers for decades … and now their days are numbered.
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It was the best of times, it was the weirdest of times. It was Hulu in 2011.

Founded in 2007, Hulu has done a superior job, creating a great user experience for online TV. Unlike most big media-funded video sites, Hulu’s interface is clean and modern. Unlike Netflix, its TV offering is fresh and current.  Its ad products have been increasingly forward-thinking, and have penetrated the majority of major American brands.
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I was a lonely kid. I had good friends but I was an only child – when I went to nursery school, my first best friend died in a fire. I went into my own head some, the way kids do. When I was ten, my grandmother offered to give me her piano. I wanted it, but my father said no.  So I got a crappy guitar instead, took a few lessons from some folkie and quit.
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Last week, we looked at the factors that made Netflix one of the best media brands in America. We reviewed the amazing growth of their DVD business, peaking when it surpassed Comcast this summer as the #1 subscription service.

This triumph was followed by a massive stock selloff and widespread customer fury.  What happened? I’d suggest the breakdown came from a perfect storm of factors:
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Tomorrow after the market closes, Apple will report its earnings for this quarter. Like a lot of people, I trading AAPL stock (options actually) and have this day marked on my mental calendar about three months in advance. The thing about earnings calls is that they are generally incredibly dull. An exception to this rule was Apple’s call almost exactly one year ago today.
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