Axios Pro: Media Deals

November 03, 2022

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1 big thing: Media and the midterms

Illustration of a megaphone surrounded by ballot shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Next week's midterms don't seem to be raising alarm bells for media dealmakers, despite the fact that the outcome could potentially eliminate Democrats' control of the House and the Senate.

What they're saying: The economic climate remains a top concern for the industry, as media investors and executives try to remain prudent with their own capital.

Rick Scanlon, a founding partner at Innovation Endeavors:

  • "I don't think any outcome in the midterms — whether it's expected or unexpected— is going to have an immediate material impact on media dealmaking. From a media lens, the political landscape has been volatile for a long time already, and so that's probably already factored in."
  • "The bigger, broader changes are already underway, and that's got to do more with the reality of the current economic climate in the United States and globally."
  • "I think that companies looking to build [an] audience with original content ... they're going to be more bottom-line focused, and that's just because the economic climate is more challenging, and I think that trend is going to continue."

Moonbug CEO René Rechtman:

  • "On what we do as a core, whether it's red or blue here in the U.K. or any other country, has no real effect."
  • "Are people having less subscriptions because there's macroeconomic pressure on businesses and consumers are in their pockets, and their spend is high [because of] inflation and all that stuff? Of course it has an effect. Is it different if it's blue on red? Your guess is as good as mine."
  • "If it's a decent political leadership, they will try to tackle some of these challenges. Europe is definitely significantly harder-hit than the U.S. in the short term. Inflation is very high. There's political turbulence. Consumers are under pressure because energy prices have gone up."

Meanwhile: One company where election alarm bells have sounded is Disney, thanks to its presence in Florida and the row it got into with the state's governor and Republican leaders.

  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek has held private conversations with House Republican leaders in preparation for a post-midterms majority, CNBC has reported.

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