Earlier this week, in commenting on Time Warner's new push into online video we said that if efforts weren't coordinated across its different brands then the company was even more screwed up than we thought. Well, Om Malik has a good rundown of the different plans, and it looks far worse than we could have imagined. All told the company has investments in or partnerships with six different online video firms, with both AOL and CNN using different services. Even Sports Illustrated has its own video plans that are separate from the rest of the company. It seems that after all these years since its disastrous merger, the company is no closer to unifying or leveraging its different brands. One of the few advantages a large integrated company has is the ability to achieve economies of scale. GE, for instance, can negotiate discounts with parts suppliers that its divisions couldn't do on its own. A media company, like Time Warner, should take advantage of network effects by having its properties and brands work together -- otherwise it might as well break up and let each division compete for itself, unencumbered by the massive bureaucracy that comes with such a big company.
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