The Real Story: Why Comcast Acquired NBC Universal from GE
In a recent interview for Mint Press News I was asked
about the implications that Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal will
have on our access to diversified news and information. Although this
move certainly impacts the control over content and how it is
disseminated, traditional fear about limited access, increased
regulation, and industry monopolization is not the central issue.
there is little to gain from controlling and restricting access to
information. If Comcast is smart, they will open the floodgates,
increase bandwidth, and drastically reduce prices.
It's simple. The
American public freely gives information away on a regular basis. What
they don't realize is there is a huge market demand for that
information. Comcast is well aware that the vast majority of young
people rely on their internet connection for news and entertainment
rather than cable outlets.
This is a strategic move
to capitalize on the currency of information, rather than the control
of it. If the currency of the future is data (both big and small), then
media giants like Comcast are positioning themselves to be the 21st
century data-banking elite.
Why did GE sell their shares in NBC Universal?
The official answer is
about focusing on what they do best, namely manufacturing. GE continues
to be a major powerhouse in the marketplace and it's not because they
continuously come late to the party. GE has a keen eye on the long-term,
so we have to consider the bigger strategic picture here. To be brief,
here are few things to consider when it comes to the future of
- 3D printing is disrupting traditional ideas of manufacturing opportunities faster than expected.
- This past November GE bought Morris Technologies which manufactures jet engines via 3D printing.
- In-home personal 3D printers like Makerbot™ are quickly becoming an affordable tool for the domestic market.
- 3D printing requires the infrastructure to rapidly transmit code from place to place.
And there it is. In order for an idea or concept to generate revenue it must have two key components:
- The mechanism to make it manifest
- The vehicle / infrastructure to get it to the market
GE is positioned to
dominate the output in this equation, while you and I dominate the input
with an abundance of ideas and concepts. Comcast creates the optimal
infrastructure for this transaction to work. Such an arrangement
might render these banking giants of the future, "too big to fail."