When Comcast chief Brian Roberts runs into fellow media moguls at Sun Valley this week, he might feel a little defeated. He was forced to abandon the takeover of Time Warner Cable in the face of regulatory opposition, while rival AT&T is expected to complete its DirecTV purchase and surpass Comcast as the biggest pay TV operator.
Meanwhile, long-time rival John Malone looks likely to succeed in his takeover of TWC, re-emerging as a major player in U.S. cable.
But the failure of Comcast’s TWC deal may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Given steadily declining pay TV subscribers and rising programming costs industry-wide, not to mention regulatory control of broadband, cable will become a much tougher business. Mr. Malone and AT&T may well come to regret the pricey deals they’re about to do.