It seems like each week brings another report of a major media breakup or divestiture. As I mentioned here and here in previous essays, various media firms have recently been considering, or are engaged in, major divorces or divestitures. In recent weeks or months, Viacom, Liberty Media, Sony, Time Warner, and Cablevision have all been pondering or carrying out major spin-offs or restructuring plans.
This week it’s Disney’s turn. After years of feuding with the Weinstein brothers over in their popular and critically acclaimed Miramax Films studio, the two are calling it quits and filing for divorce. (Can you blame the Weinstein brothers after Disney apparently told them to turn down the production rights for the “Lord of the Rings” movies?!?) Disney will be losing one of the most respected movie studios in the world once the divorce is finalized.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this issue, but I just have to ask once more: Where are all the media critics now? Whenever two media outlets propose a marriage, the critics lament the supposed coming death of diversity and democracy and all that jazz. But when we find ourselves in the midst of another wave of media DE-consolidation, these Chicken Littles are nowhere to be found.