No matter how the NBC Universal dance with Comcast comes out or whether the Disney "KeyChest" multi-platform digital plan evolves, they - or similar deals - will affect the ways in which Americans watch video programming. These kinds of ventures will eventually redraw the media landscape, defining the scope and capabilities of devices on which those programs will be consumed.
No wonder that Wall Street weighed in so quickly on the proposed Comcast/NBCU alliance in these troubled times for media empires. In the month since the deal was floated, the up-front and behind-the-scenes discussions have been frenzied. Comcast brought in high-profile consultants such as Peter Chernin, former number two guy at News Corp. under Rupert Murdoch. Maverick media mogul John Malone, who made his fortune in cable TV and now is now preparing to absorb DirecTV, has weighed in on the deal, predictably ambiguously (he's always been a deal maker or breaker) suggesting that other offers for NBCU are possible.
All this comes at a time when the FCC and others (including the Consumer Electronics Association) are suggesting that traditional broadcast TV airwaves may be better used for wireless broadband services, a threat that rallies the protective broadcast TV station owners into a frenzy of their own.