MSNBC Panic, the Reign of Redstone, and the Murdochs’ ‘Succession’ Drama

Photo by Ron Galella via Getty Images

The media ecosystem is constantly evolving, disaggregating, and consolidating. The following is a lightly edited conversation between William D. Cohan, the longtime journalist and former M&A banker, and Dylan Byers, one of the foremost observers of the evolving tech-entertainment-financial landscape, about what’s really happening inside the industry.

Dylan Byers: So Bill, something happened last week that made me think of you. I was having—I was going to say coffee or drinks, but come to think of it we didn’t have anything except bottled water—with a prominent media executive (P.M.E.) and he tells me he thinks that journalists get it wrong when they state or imply that Shari Redstone is going to sell ViacomCBS. 

According to the P.M.E., Redstone is very happy to finally be in charge of the company, she’s enjoying herself, and she’s not looking to offload it. I countered with the usual arguments about scale and consolidation and the reality that ViacomCBS will eventually, and necessarily, one day be acquired by someone: Comcast, Warner Bros Discovery… you name it. And the P.M.E. responds: Oh, totally, but that’s in 4 to 5 years.