The fruits of synergy

Disney and AOL/Time Warner are not having a good year.
The conventional wisdom is that Disney took its eye off the ball with ABC (and got greedy with “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”), and that AOL is just another screwed-up dot-com.
In fact, both these institutions are suffering from an overdose of synergy. Because their constellations of media properties are generally so excellent and familiar, Disney and AOL/TW have been able to get away with this longer than was probably good for them.
ABC has been run as a shill for their corporate parent’s movies, networks, and theme parks — and a channel for its production companies — ever since Disney bought it. You never got the sense that Disney was trying to make it the best network on TV.
Meanwhile, AOL has been hyping TW’s content propertie for a couple of years now. These properties are very high quality, but for that reason didn’t need AOL’s marginal boost. Meanwhile, AOL has become as compelling as an infomercial.
ABC and AOL are incredibly valuable properties that are being milked dry by their owners in the name of synergy.