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December 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This is a good time to be in the “content” business, Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen indicated at a media conference in New York on Thursday. With broadband outlets and video-on-demand platforms multiplying quickly, producers of programming — particularly hit programming — have more customers than ever. “The value of hit programming has gone up 50 percent over the last five years,” Reif Cohen said. And, she added, There are a lot of hit shows.” In a separate interview with Multichannel News, she observed, “I don’t think the TV production business has ever been this healthy. There is massive demand for content both domestically and abroad.” Asked how the telephone hacking scandal will affect Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Reif Cohen appeared to dismiss other analysts’ speculation that it could result in Murdoch’s undoing. In fact, she suggested, News Corp could emerge from the scandal ever stronger, since it is likely to weaken the influence of Murdoch’s son James and strengthen the hand of COO Chase Carey, whom she called “a phenomenal operator.”