Though Vice Corp.'s Co-Supreme Leaders Shane Smith and Rupert Murdoch were unavailable for comment, a company spokesman did agree to answer some written questions about the unprecedented deal.
A. ComcastWarner and DirecT&T have each been investing billions in next-generation technologies, to create better services for millions of consumers. By combining forces under Vice Corp., consumers can expect better services that are at least twice as better.
Q. Over the years, data released by the FCC Media Bureau, which tracks cable rates, shows that the average cable bill has gone up $2-$3 annually, which means that average American households pay roughly triple what they paid in 1995, the first year the FCC started keeping track. The end result is cable bills that have risen many times the average rate of inflation. The price of broadband access, which is often bundled with cable or telecom bills, has also been rising rapidly. Won't Vice Corp.'s plans worsen the situation for consumers?
A. Vice Corp. is a highly diversified company, with reach far beyond the cable-TV and ISP sectors. By strategically maximizing revenue in our various non-cable/ISP sectors, which have a broader impact on the average rate of inflation, we believe that cable and broadband rate increases -- which are necessary to bring state-of-the-art, next-generation services to consumers -- will no longer outpace the average rate of inflation.
Q. Shane Smith, who was the CEO and co-founder of Vice Media before its merger with News Corp., recently served as best man at Rupert Murdoch's marriage to Hyon Song Wol, the ex-girlfriend of Kim Jong-Un. That has Murdoch watchers questioning the state of Rupert's sometimes-rocky relationship with his son Lachlan, who for many years appeared to be his father's heir apparent. What role will Lachlan have, if any, in Vice Corp.'s new cable/broadband divisions?
A. Lachlan played a key role in bringing Vice Media and News Corp. together, and was also involved in Vice Corp.'s decision to acquire ComcastWarner and DirecT&T. Shane and Rupert will continue to rely on Lachlan's strategic vision going forward. Additionally, Shane is pleased to announce that Lachlan will serve as general manager of Vice Corp.'s Hot Topic division.
Q. What are the chances that the FCC or other governmental bodies will stand in the way of Vice Corp.'s ambitions? After all, FCC Chairman Alex Detrick is a former Vice executive.
A. Chairman Detrick only wants what's best for consumers.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.
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