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Cutthroat: high stakes & killer moves on the electronic by Stephen Keating

By Stephen Keating

A full of life, fast moving, unauthorized account of strength agents and sky-high bargains, "Cutthroat" is the only publication you need to learn to appreciate the avid gamers, the strategies, and the long run within the brutal telecommunications marketplace conflict among satellite tv for pc television and cable. In 1997, Rupert Murdoch’s information Corp. joined forces with EchoStar, Charlie Ergen’s upstart corporation, to create a satellite-TV powerhouse—nicknamed Deathstar. The cable knew its profitable monopoly was once threatened, and with TCI’s John Malone within the leading edge, cable fought again and held off the attack. How this deal lit up the sky sooner than crashing all the way down to earth exposes the oversized personalities, the high-stakes deal-making, the transferring alliances, and the ruthless politicking that encompass the pursuit of megabucks in telecommunications this day.

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Extra info for Cutthroat: high stakes & killer moves on the electronic frontier

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What are the stakes? The rules? The essence of the game is illustrated by one play. Page x In February of 1997, Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media pirate, and Charlie Ergen, a wily American hustler, announced plans to launch a killer satellite TV service nicknamed Deathstar. It lit up the sky, then fell to earth, undone by a cable mastermind named John Malone. How these players and others came to be, the way that they clashed and what happened next is a view to the future of the electronic frontier.

Grinding his boot heel a little deeper into Malone's back, Padden highlighted the cable industry's massive debt, eroding subscriber base and huge costs to rebuild for new services. " This was an allusion to the original Star Wars movie trilogy that Murdoch's Fox Studios was re-releasing into theaters. " Sky would prevail, said Padden, by redressing satellite TV's biggest failing: local channels. Technical and regulatory restrictions prevented satellite TV from offering popular broadcast signals to the vast majority of subscribers.

With Children, A Current Affair, The Simpsons and America's Most Wanted pulled in the 18- to 49-year-old eyeballs that advertisers covet. Murdoch typically leveraged his way into partnerships, took over, then moved on to the next conquest. News Corp. did not dominate any particular sector. But like a drop of blood in a glass of water, the nature and notoriety of Murdoch's deals permeated and colored the entire entertainment world. ''He's like a great white shark," John Malone once said in admiration.

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