Wednesday, June 02, 2004

History as a guide for future media models

Through a friend I met a guy by the name of Owen Mahoney. I can't recall the name of the company he worked for at the time, but he was about to take a position at Electronic Arts when I was trying to convince him to come and work with me at Vivendi. He passed and is head of Corporate Development at EA. I am sure that has been an amazing ride.

I was in San Francisco one day and dropped in to have lunch with him. We had a good conversation about changes in the media business and how there might be some interesting parallels for today in the cable industry. At the time I was trying to get my head around how things change over periods of time and that even though things had moved very quickly in the late 90s - it is really only over periods of time that models emerge and winners become apparent.

While talking I mentioned the story that I was exploring at the time which was the story of Sterling Manhattan Cable . The company that was started in the mid 60's, launched HBO in 1972 and became the vehicle for Gerald Levin's climb to the top of Time Warner.

After sharing the story as I knew it, Owen recommended that I read The Highwaymen by Ken Auletta. I ended up reading this book and loved it. It is a profile of all the media moguls throughout the 90s and included profiles of Rupert Murdoch, John Malone, Edgar Bronfman, etc. It is a must read if you are interested in media.

This book then led me to read Cable Cowboy: John Malone and the Rise of the Cable Business. This book was amazing.

I think that if you read these books and some other books like them, it will give you a unique perspective on how the media world is evolving in the face of technology and will provide some insight into possible outcomes.

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