The Highwaymen: Warriors of the Information Superhighway
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A struggle is taking place--not just among corporate titans, but among entire industries. At stake is control of the world's fastest-growing industry: communications. The contestants are Hollywood studios, television networks, and cable, telephone, computer, publishing, and consumer-electronics companies. All are vying to collect a toll on the information superhighway. And as they jockey for control, they tread on volatile ground, as one fixation after another (cable, interactive TV) is dumped in favor of the next (satellite, the Internet).
There is no better account of this turmoil than the one provided here by Ken Auletta, bestselling author of Three Blind Mice ("the best book ever written on network television"*) and Greed and Glory on Wall Street, who for five years has brilliantly tracked the communications industry for The New Yorker. Auletta's access to the principal players is unparalleled (six days with Rupert Murdoch, summit meetings with John Malone), and his grasp of the issues--from boardroom politics to regulatory and technological pressures--is unmatched by any other journalist.
In this riveting collection of his best pieces Auletta takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes tour of such companies as Disney, Viacom, Microsoft, Time Warner, and Telecommunications, Inc., and keenly chronicles the vanities and visions of the new Highwaymen--Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Michael Eisner, Sumner Redstone, Bill Gates, and more. Just as Three Blind Mice was heralded as "the new bible of the broadcasting business," The Highwaymen will be received as an indispensable guide to the future of this explosive new world.
* Frank Stanton, former president of CBS
until the price comes down, and yet, as happened with computers, the price won’t come down until a mass audience is reached. As Intel’s CEO, Andy Grove, said of the Internet in early 1997, to make money, companies must be prepared to lose money: “Columbus didn’t have a business plan when he discovered America,” said Grove. 12 THE HUMAN FACTOR Troubles in Disneyland (The New Yorker, September 26, 1994) My car phone rang. It was August 30, and I was on my way to Kennedy Airport to fly
that I was proceeding with this story, he told me that my request was the final “straw” and said, “We are not going to cooperate with anyone else.” (That night he dined with a Vanity Fair reporter, Kim Masters, who had been at work on a Disney story for several weeks.) A week later, Eisner faxed me from his home, saying that the reason he was not talking was that “I simply promised Jeffrey that for the time being interviews from me about him are over.” The contract-settlement discussions got
media; direct-dial telephony makes it difficult for a state to control interpersonal voice communications. And satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels.” A month after the Whitehall speech, the Chinese prime minister signed into law a virtual ban on individual ownership of satellite dishes, and a suddenly chastened Murdoch was forced to show solicitude toward a totalitarian regime. He
needed to pay gatekeepers like Murdoch’s satellite systems in Europe, Asia, and South America. Nine: The companies that will survive are those that define themselves broadly. CBS, NBC, and ABC lost a third of their audience over the past fifteen years, in part because they defended their single channels and blindly fought cable, failing to understand that they owned a brand and not just a single channel. Thus the danger for, say, The New York Times, would be to think that it is in the newspaper
however, was family. Bronfman Jr. says, “There are a lot of parts to the answer, but the first part is family. There is an incredible pride in this company and its family, in who we are and what our grandfather created, and what our father and uncle enlarged.” The writer Barbara Goldsmith, who was a neighbor of Ann and Edgar Bronfman in Westchester and has been a lifelong friend of Edgar Jr., says of him, “He is a born caretaker. He’s always taking care of his siblings. A typical Edgar thing is