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Digitizing Disney, Or Just A Doodle?

A roundup of what the digital media implications of the deal, if it goes through: I: Disney Deal to Reshape On-Demand Media: So think Josh Bernioff, Forrester analyst…it could jump-start video on demand and to shape of the future of on-demand media. “It will use Disney to jump-start video on demand and broadband. Despite its aggressive moves in video on demand, Comcast has failed to get mainstream networks to offer popular content in video-on-demand tiers. This would change.”

BusinessWeek‘s Steve Rosenbush also thinks on similar lines: “It’s less about synergy and cost-cutting than it is about how companies produce growth in a low-cost, high-output environment. This battle isn’t about barbarians crashing the gates of Corporate America. It’s about how Comcast, having taken the TV-distribution business about as far as it can go, builds a new model for both communications and media. Observers said a deal would allow Comcast to create video on demand services that satellite would not be able to match. “As demonstrated elsewhere, it is strategically essential for a multi-channel platform operator to control premium content,” said Pascal Volle, a director of the media and entertainment division of Mercer.

NYT I: Content is No Longer King: “Many investors hope that cable companies will be able to win not only the Internet wars but also capture a growing share of telephone business. By that theory, those who provide content will have to take what the cable companies are willing to pay for their product.”

NYT II: “Are not media companies better off having many distributors compete for their movies and programming? And isn’t a cable operator better off having many media companies competing for access to its network? Why is either a media company or a cable operator better off being locked into a company they own?” II: Disney has engaged in a series of mistakes in the transition from analog to digital technologies in the past several years, ranging from the Internet to animation advancements. Fundamental gaps in the company’s understanding of digital trends became apparent when the Internet began its explosive growth in the mid-1990s. That leaved it open to attacks such as Comcast’s $66 billion takeover attempt.

WSJ: Putting all its bets on new services such as the Internet and telecom won’t necessarily lead [Comcast] to strong profit growth. On the other hand, control of unique content could enable Comcast to better compete with News Corp. and give it an additional weapon to fight Verizon and other telecommunications companies.

CBS MarketWatch: Is Content King?: Comcast is now looking to fill its huge broadband pipes with content, in light of its merger completion with AT&T broadband. Some good questions to be asked: Does Disney have more flexibility with its business model by combining with cable access if increasingly the world is moving toward no-advertising content? For Comcast, is it worth the price tag to own the rich content to combine with its video-on-demand offering?

InternetNews: Given Microsoft’s investment in Comcast and its new relation with Disney, there are also implications for every desktop and set-top.

MediaPost: Media buyers said the coupling of Comcast’s distribution with Disney’s content could be a catalyst for driving a broadband video marketplace.

Gigaom: Om Malik thinks it is a dumb idea: “Comcast is still digesting the ATT Broadband acquisition, has to spend gazillions on the fast growing demand for broadband and at the same time trying to figure out how to fight off the defectors to the dish land.”