Reflecting on All Things Digital, I got the feeling that I've missed thinking deeply about something that is probably obvious to a lot of people. Big media companies are leading the charge (fueling the bubble?) into Web 2.0 probably even more than VCs and startups. I definitely felt a kind of bubble-like feeling at the last O'Reilly Web 2.0 Expo, but after D I realized that it wasn't really a bubble so much as a charge after hearing the heads of companies like CBS, News Corp., Time, Viacom, etc. talk about how they were basically just getting started. It seemed like they all had almost weekly pipelines of multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisitions planned. They talked jealously about how after the $900M Google deal to buy the MySpace ads, it was clear that the $580M MySpace acquisition by News Corp. was a steal.
John Markoff also mentioned to me that if you had bought Apple stock at the Google IPO, you would have done better than if you had bought Google stock.
Watching and listening to these big companies talking about "the space" it felt like, in their eyes, and possibly in reality, these guys were "running the show". If nothing else, they were providing the exit scenarios for most of the investors in Silicon Valley now. Chatting to various friends at Google and Yahoo, it was clear that neither of the two would pay the kinds of valuations that the media companies were paying for their acquisitions.
I had mused about this and had even talked about this trend, but listening to MediaCo-to-MediaCo chatter, really made a deep impression on me and makes me feel that maybe this exuberance will continue longer than I had thought... at least unless there is some larger market catastrophe... Which is good I guess. ;-)