- Vice/Time Warner
This deal poses a lot more questions than answers if it goes through:
1. How does Vice uphold it's place as being anti-establishment if it's owned by the establishment?
2. Vice shares a lot of ideals with HLN's new shows launching in the fall, but if Vice takes control of HLN, will it want to keep those shows or start anew with a fresh slate of its own branded shows?
3. Will Time Warner be willing to support two separate international news organizations or will FTVLive's rumors come to pass with CNN being sold. TW has shown in the past it is willing to let go of legacy brands (Aol, Time Warner Cable, Time).
4. How do CNN and Vice work together? Does an increase in Vice's international budget mean a decrease in CNN's? Can Shane Smith actually work with a network he has such disdain for (even though he partnered with them back in 2010)?
5. If HLN becomes Vice TV, will it be 100% news or will we see adequate representation from all of the branches of Vice i.e. Vice Sports, Creators Project, Noisey etc.
6. What happens to the CNN Center? Vice TV would presumably produce all programming in NYC since that is where Vice is located. This would leave CNN Center with only CNN's weekend shows and Turner Sports left as tenants. The control rooms for all of Turner's networks also exist in the building but those could just as easily transfer to NYC as well.
7. What happens to HLN's talent? Robin Meade beats CNN's morning show on many occasions but she surely doesn't fit Vice's strategy or demographic. Is she transferred to CNN or will she be a free agent? The same could be asked about Nancy Grace, Jane Velez-Mitchell and Dr. Drew; each of whom I don't believe would find it difficult to attain another television position if they were released.
8. Does online success transfer to 24 hour cable news television? Vice is successful online and is able to garner millions of views daily. Their HBO show is also critically acclaimed but is Time Warner sure that Vice has enough content and brand loyalty to fill in 24 hours a day and turn in a profit? Vice's content closely matches Current TV, which is now six feet under, buried and forgotten.
- Viacom/Defy Media
The crossing of brands in this deal is limitless which makes it such a great partnership. Viacom's number 1 network, Nickelodeon, has had problems with viewership recently due to the fact that it's chief rival Disney constantly finds a way to build up big franchises and stars to anchor it's ship to victory. The same can't be said for Nickelodeon, where there are no big major stars synonymous with the network other than Spongebob. Defy Media gives Nick some new stars with a built in audience to mold their network around including YouTube's #1 comedy duo known as Smosh. Nick has already started using this strategy with members of AwesomessnessTV and The Fine Bros. and with this deal, it'll be much easier to connect with some of the Internet's rising stars. Tosh.o and Ridiculousness from Comedy Central and MTV respectively also gain a plethora of video content to use from Break.com while TeenNick will be able to find its own identity with Clevver News, which reaches a similar teenage girl audience as the network which mostly airs Degrassi and reruns of Nick shows. These are just some of the crossings which are possible through this deal.
- Vector Management/Eric Ortner Media Group
Ann Curry's manager just landed a new joint venture deal with Live Nation which could signal the route which Curry's next chapter will take. Eric Ortner promises to create new opportunities for his journalist clients to expand their presence. Curry's teary exit from "Today" will leave many networks weary of giving her a traditional anchor/reporter position which is why I expect Curry to utilize her following (1 million+ followers on Twitter) and her passion for stories to become her own brand which re-engineers how consumers get their news. Distributing stories in the same way Live Nation distributes it's music could be an interesting experiment that Curry decides to delve into. Does this mean in Curry's next endeavor, we'll see her moderate her own town halls/live discussions on major international issues? Another idea would be to launch her own documentary series which can be expanded into different ventures in the same vein as Ortner's other client Soledad O'Brien and her Black in America series.
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