Avis, Zipcar and the Next Big Wave of M&A

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News Corp, Disney, Time Warner (TWX) and Comcast (CMCSA) . They're the players. They call the shots.

If regulators allow it, expect a merger between two of the four. Either way, they'll absorb smaller players, entire sports franchises, venues, sports broadcast rights, you name it. And, as they continue to build out to massive scale, you win.

Cable already has you by the short hairs. Despite Reed Hastings' nocturnal fantasies, Netflix (NFLX) isn't changing that game. Intel sure as hell won't . And I don't suspect Apple (AAPL) wants to .

The old guard will change the game when it's ready. It will wean itself off of things like affiliate fees and sweet and easy third-party digital licensing deals (also known as "fleecing Netflix") when it's good and ready.

The old guard will merge and partner and partner and merge to deliver the content people need to see live live and everything else on-demand via multiple platforms. It will look a lot like Hulu. In fact, it might even end up being Hulu . We'll see.

However it shakes out, when the dust settles, we'll have an exciting living room, dominated by a handful of hardware makers (Apple, Samsung, maybe Sony (SNE) ), purveyors of awesome user experiences (Apple, Microsoft (MSFT) via Xbox) and the big old guard media names.

Things will change profoundly, for the better, while, in many ways, staying the same.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.