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The Devil's in the Word Carpentry


Though most company mergers publicly play-up on "benefits" to consumers, the public relations war is often won by the side that sells its position best.

To quote the Associated Press, "Comcast Corporation will buy Time Warner Cable for about $45 billion in a deal that would combine the nation’s top two cable TV companies and create a dominant force in creating and delivering entertainment."

The two companies jointly would have more than 30 million customers. In America there are about a 115 million households. So thirty-million would be about a 26% market share. The Federal Government, of course, must approve the acquisition. 

What is the most interesting, though, about the original announcement is the language used to describe the acquisition.

Comcast described its effort to become the eight-hundred-pound gorilla as, "teaming up with Time Warner." That is absolutely positive language. Teaming up is what we are urged to do all our lives. Teaming up is good. Teaming up is cooperating. Teaming up is growing, building, pulling together.

Yet, from the mouth of Public Knowledge, a consumer rights group, the acquisition is described as creating "a bully in the schoolyard." That is not teaming up. Teaming up is good. Bullies and bullying are bad.

It is highly likely that all in favor will continue to portray Comcast as teaming up, and the opposition will portray a Comcast bully.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com

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