At times, it feels like the media landscape is changing on a pretty frequent basis, with mergers and acquisitions of some significant companies. According to a new report on Sunday, media powerhouse AT&T could soon be on that list once again, with the company seemingly in talks to combine its media assets with Discovery Inc. This deal would be with the goal of creating a new entertainment powerhouse, particularly with the help of Discovery's nonfiction and reality TV assets. According to Bloomberg, a deal is rumored to be announced as early as this week.
The goal will reportedly be to have AT&T and Discovery create an entertainment empire that could be akin to Netflix and Disney. AT&T already has a number of significant assets to its name, particularly through its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner Inc., which put WarnerMedia and Warner Bros. Studios under their umbrella. The networks included within that are HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, and TNT. If Discovery's programming was added to it, that would also include networks such as HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Travel Channel, and Animal Planet.
Discovery also launched its own streaming service earlier this year with Discovery+, which offers subscribers the back catalog of Discovery Inc. content, as well as a number of original shows. AT&T and WarnerMedia launched their own service in the spring of 2020 with HBO Max.
“We couldn’t be more excited to bring HBO Max and its incredible content to millions of our customers. Our top wireless, internet and video plans and packages now include your favorite shows and movies, all in one place with HBO Max - at no additional charge,” Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer, said when the service initially launched. “AT&T has long been committed to ensuring our customers are connected and entertained, and HBO Max has something for everyone. It’s yet another step we’re taking to keep our customers connected to the world around them and the content they love.”
The report does specify that both companies are still in the negotiation stage, and that the actual nature of the merger could end up falling through. The deal has also raised eyebrows of some when juxtaposed with AT&T's recent business behavior, including laying off staff and selling underperforming assets, including DirecTV and Crunchyroll, with the latter being sold to Sony for $1.2 billion. If AT&T and Discovery were to combine forces, it would provide even more entertainment, but would also create a slew of logistical problems when trying to combine the two companies' libraries together.
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