Poll: If You Were Comcast Taking Over MSNBC


^^Poll on who you think is most likely to next get the ax at MSNBC from a business point of view(not necessarily who you want gone the most).

Hey everybody, I have been following the Comcast takeover of NBC Universal(MSNBC) quite a bit lately. I personally am buying into two motivations the company has in handling MSNBC. The first being to obviously make it more profitable and the other is best put by Newsbusters.

Comcast is a far different company than General Electric. Because its exclusive business is media – Comcast is now the largest cable and home internet provider in the nation as well as a growing force in television broadcasting – it might be far more concerned about the political image of MSNBC than GE was.

With many cable and internet options available to consumers, does Comcast want to jeopardize its vast customer base with hyper-partisan rhetoric on its new news network?

Seems difficult to conclude the answer to be anything other than “No” given Friday’s surprise announcement, and if more changes are made to MSNBC’s prime time lineup in the coming months further diminishing the network’s hyper-partisanship, we may look upon January 21, 2011, as the beginning of the end of a totally disgraceful period in television journalism.

So I’m actually trying to figure out what Comcast intends to do with the network. Now as much as we would like to say that everybody is going to get canned and start from scratch, that isn’t really realistic. A move like that would scare the crap out of every single existing advertiser, and it would balloon the costs of the network as they were forced to make large payouts on contracts ended prematurely.

So, only a few things can be concluded as most likely.

A) If they intend to revamp the network it will be done piecemeal over a considerable amount of time.

B) Since Comcast is concerned about its other areas of business(like providing cable) they have an incentive to want to get rid of people that are at most risk of negatively impacting that business and want to avoid highly controversial people on the left and right when engaging in the hiring process.

C) Since they are concerned about profitability, those with higher ratings(now that the blowhard who was a serious liability to B is gone) are more likely to be around longer than those with lower ratings(ratings obviously means money).

There are a couple of theories as to what Comcast intends to do with MSNBC.

1) Turn the network into a multi viewpoint network of conservatives, liberals, progressives, libertarians, and populists(think Lou Dobbs). This theory isn’t predicated on anything MSNBC has been signifying(except maybe the pick up of Uygur) during the merger talks and after, but is predicated on the idea that it could be a good business model.

2) Turn the network into an American version of the BBC predicated on an almost excessive pursuit of professionalism over controversy. This theory does have some signs of being a real possibility. The firing of Olbermann, the pick-up of Bashir, and the fact that this is the epitome of letter “B)” I listed above, points to this being really likely. I should say that the pick up of Uygur doesn’t seem to fit with this.

3) That they are crafting the network for a younger demographic. That would mean that they would try to set up the network on a more libertarian vs. progressive/socialist(yeah I know right) lines instead of the more traditional conservative vs. liberal lines. That would seem to be supported by the pick up of Uygur and the move of O’Donnell to the main 8pm et time slot. Look to the network picking up a high profile libertarian as a sign that this is where they are going.

4) Does nothing and leaves the network to much of the same forces that have ran MSNBC into the ground. That has traditionally been the result of previous take overs like Zeller’s acquisition of the Tribune company. I should say that changes are occurring fast at MSNBC right now, its hard to envision that Comcast isn’t involved at all in those changes, and two of the biggest Comcast heads aren’t your traditional semi-political executives(they count co-chair of the 2000 GOP convention and one of Bush’s biggest coveted bundler’s amongst their credentials).

But I would love to hear your thoughts on where you think they are heading. And from a realistic business point of view, what you would be doing transition the channel into something that is most profitable.


^^A poll on who you think will most likely be picked up next by MSNBC. I left out big radio talk show hosts that are unlikely to want a spot at MSNBC even during a transition in programming, and individuals at places like FNC that have contracts, positions, and salaries that MSNBC is unlikely to be able to compete in offering.