Media companies must think huge to survive, analyst says

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In a world increasingly dominated by big tech companies, even household names in media have to fight to keep up. So, according to a media analyst, content producers and distributors must think huge to survive.

As companies such as Comcast and Disney circle some of 21st Century Fox’s biggest assets, Needham’s Laura Martin said Friday she is bullish on media acquisitions

“What the government is missing, that Wall Street is clearly discounting, is that these content players must be larger, because of who they are competing with,” Martin, a fan of bundling, said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Stock price and investment mattered more when competition was on a smaller scale, as between AT&T and Comcast, but Martin said the game has changed.

“It is Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google – all of whom are spending billions of dollars this year making content,” she said. “Those are the competitors that these content companies now must compete against.”

According to Martin, it is all about consolidating studios or cable channels to cut operating costs and expand margins.

“We are finally going to get consolidation in content – long overdue,” she said.

Craig Moffett, analyst and founder at MoffettNathanson, agrees, although he doesn’t believe margins are the end-game. He believes any acquisition will be made to consolidate power, since only the strongest networks have been shown to thrive when transitioning to over the top media services, like Netflix or Apple TV.

“There is at least an argument that says if you can amass enough of the right channels, you have an awful lot of say in how the future evolves,” he said.

Despite that, Moffett thinks an acquisition of 21st Century Fox by Comcast or Disney could never happen in the U.S., based on the Department of Justice’s reaction to the AT&T Time Warner deal.

“There is effectively no chance Comcast would try a transaction like this in the U.S. anymore,” Moffett said.