I’ve covered this before as part of my ongoing media DE-consolidiation series, which aims to show how media markets are far more dynamic that critics care to admit, but Time Warner has finally made the split off of its AOL division official. Again, to appreciate the significance of this shakeup, one must recall that when this marriage was struck back in 2000, media critics where in full-blown Chicken Little mode over the deal. Critics claimed the AOL-Time Warner deal represented “Big Brother,” “the end of the independent press,” and a harbinger of a “new totalitarianism.”
It was all complete nonsense, of course, but it was all too typical of the sort of irrational emotionalism that characterizes debates over media policy in this country. I’ve been doing my best to deflate some of that hot air with my ongoing “Media Metrics” series of essays, which illustrate exactly how much better off citizens are today than ever before in terms of the media options at their disposal. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] And this ongoing “Media DE-Consolidation series” has shown that there are just as many major media marketplace crack-ups as their are build-ups. It’s a very dynamic marketplace regardless of what the critics say.