The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Media behemoth AOL Time Warner's finances are in the toilet, and everyone's piling on to trash the company. Loudest are the cries that the merger between Internet high-flyer America Online and old-school media Time Warner never should have happened in the first place, for various reasons both high-minded and venal. (I can empathize: I was working for an investment banking firm when it happened, and the first thought that came to mind when the press release announcing the merger came before my eyes was, this must be a hoax. It wasn't.)

It's in that spirit that MediaPost's Tig Tillinghast ruminates on the benefits that would accrue from a complete splintering of the AOL Time Warner empire, with everything from HBO to AOL to Time going their separate ways.

It's an intriguing scenario, although pretty unlikely. Market corrections account for de-consolidation as well as the dreaded consolidation, but I can't remember the last time it happened on a significant scale in the media industry. But like I say, it'd be interesting to watch unfold if it came to that. Plus, it's good all around for more media companies to be in play: good for the diversity of the media consumer landscape, and good for media professionals to have more outlets to peddle their skills/wares.

Just an aside: What kind of a name is Tig?? Not to mention Tig Tillinghast. It sounds like the name of a prep-school fop. (I know, I know, people with weird names themselves shouldn't cast stones. I'm lobbing them anyway. No offense, Tig.)