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May 10, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Time Warner Is The Sioux Nation?

At the annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons stated, “The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux Nation. They will lose this war if they go to war. The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion.” Of all the commentary that has gone on about old and new media and the blustering that has taken place among players and pundits alike, this quote is one of the best. It is certainly one of the most indicative of the horrendously flawed perspective that most traditional media companies apply to the wildly shifting landscape they compete in.


In an overly simplistic manner of assessing winners and losers, Time Warner has created virtually no shareholder value in the past 5 years, while Google’s stock is up more than 300%. Of course, there are plenty of ways to measure the scoreboard for companies like Time Warner and Google, but I’d argue that building shareholder value is perhaps the most appropriate in this context, and by this measure, Google has absolutely annihilated Time Warner.

More importantly, the old mentality of media titans battling one another in predictable, known arenas no longer applies. That war has long since passed, having been been replaced by one with new rules, new technologies, new competitive dynamics, and new requirements for success. The thousands of ‘new kids on the block’ have not only taken over, they’re now in a position of being able to fundamentally rewrite those rules every day.

And lastly, I’d recommend thinking a little more carefully about using a war analogy that makes sense and doesn’t contradict the point trying to be made when considered in its broader context.

[tags]Richard Parson, Time Warner, Google, Old Media, New Media, Media, Flawed Analogies, Sioux Nation, Custer[/tags]


  1. Gunnar / May 11 2007 12:54 pm

    Do Sergey and Larry know they are competing against the Sioux?


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