Is a merger with cbs inevitable because theyre both owned by the redstone family? There are independent committees essay and shareholders that have to be dealt with. I think theres probably good logic in having it happen. All of the things I talked about earlier are consistent with our belief that scale is a benefit. Youre also a minor shareholder in Time warner. How do you think the case is going with the justice departments suit to block the sale to at t? At t has the better argument, and my understanding is that theyve been having better days in court.
But also other players: Spotify, the record companies — there are a lot of people resume who seemingly, in the restructured business over the last few years, have done quite well. Is a shakeout inevitable in music streaming? I dont know about that. Spotify has just gone public with a market cap of over 25 billion. Big players like amazon and google and Apple, even if they arent making a lot of money, can sustain if they find it strategic. Im not sure i see a shakeout in the near term. In fact Id be quite surprised. Youre a minor shareholder in viacom.
In music, do you have a grand vision for integrating Sirius and live nation and potentially iheart? Each of these businesses has attractive qualities. There could be some synergies around the cost side or around technologies or around interaction between free and pay. I think all float on their own bottom and do well. But we may find ways to have them work together. Why double down on a business thats so troubled? The music industry is restructuring. Sirius has done quite well. Live nation has done very well.
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He sold them once; I dont think he wants them back. I think its a question of whether Disney will be allowed to close on that part. They have less regulatory problems than most. Is Disneys new espn streaming service a good idea? Theyre going to have to do that. But how do they maintain their espn carriage on pay tv and that over-the-top service? How many ways can you slice the baloney?
There are only so many ways you can package it, window it, etc. On the distribution side, will cord cutting accelerate, or will we see a slow, steady decline? I think its probably slow and steady. There are wide varieties within there. The traditional satellite players are losing share relatively quickly. The cable guys are losing share slowly. Charter gained write video subscribers in the fourth quarter, and theyre saying they could gain video subscribers in 2018.
Its a lot of purchase to get to hulu. But when you think it through, its not totally surprising. You dont believe disney and Fox might give hulu to comcast if it agrees to back away from sky? Hulu is likely what they want, so Id be surprised. I think Brian might like that, but Id be surprised if they let.
Do you have a vision of how this turns out? Its an interesting question. Will Disney have to dump some of their sports programming to get that deal done? It would seem possible, if not likely,. The fact that theyd have all of those fox-owned regional sports networks, plus espn, seems unusual and would not be allowed. The rsns would stay with Murdoch? I think ruperts a seller of them.
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You wouldnt have thought that Rupert would sell anything. Thats not been his history. All of those are fairly surprising. Are you surprised mother that Disney wants to buy fox? Disney has come to the realization that it needs to play in a direct way. Hulu co-owned by disney, fox and Comcast is an important part of that strategy. There thesis werent that many ways to get scale in an over-the-top player.
John may be more bullish on content than. Hed kind of have to be: he has that big Discovery position. Do you think lionsgate has to grow? Theyve done a good job. But those trends toward scale would simple probably be helpful to them just the way its helpful to most content players. I dont think lionsgate is unique. What developments over the past few months have taken you by surprise? I would not have guessed that Comcast ceo brian Roberts would be trying to outbid Murdoch and Disney for. It follows Fox and Disney.
dont think thats a sustainable rate of growth. Rupert Murdoch is selling most of Fox to disney; Jeff Bewkes is selling Time warner to. Yet you are mostly a buyer. Weve not been buying traditional linear players. Frankly we reduced our exposure by putting Starz inside of lionsgate. Im not in Discovery — discovery doubled down buying Scripps Networks Interactive. But there is a space, and they kind of had to play.
Maffei could dominate music as he angles to control iheartMedia, the. 1 radio station owner, which is seeking to escape bankruptcy protection. Maffeis also becoming a force in sports. Last year he bought Formula One auto racing, teaming it with the Atlanta Braves — which Liberty picked up in 2007. Meanwhile, maffeis just one degree of separation away from Malones significant holdings in lionsgate (which bought Liberty-controlled Starz in 2016 discovery communications and Liberty Global, the worlds largest tv and broadband company. The ceo last year made.8 million — up equal to 223 times the 88,786 that the average. Liberty media employee collected. Variety recently caught up with Maffei to find out whats up with his company, and his world.
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Liberty media, ceo, greg Maffei sounds a little tetchy when asked about the sharp drop in health his companys stock price over the past six months. Liberty, he says, has performed as well, if not better, than anybody — with shareholder returns up an average of 25 a year — in the 13 years since maffei left his job as Oracles cfo to help. John Malone run his burgeoning media empire. He has a point. By gambling on fixer-uppers, instead of the trophy properties that most moguls covet, maffei, 57, has emerged from Malones shadow to become an industry powerhouse. In addition to running holding company liberty, maffei is chairman of Sirius-xm, pandora media, live nation Entertainment (which owns Ticketmaster liberty TripAdvisor and Qurate retail — the recently rebranded owner of qvc, hsn and Zulily. Hes a director of Charter Communications, the. 2 cable operator (Liberty is the largest stockholder and online real estate service zillow. Related, hes still dealing.