AT&T’s Time Warner acquisition is official, costing the U.S.’ second-largest wireless carrier in the amount of $85 Billion to snatch up the mega media corporation which includes brands like Turner, Warner Bros., and HBO, all three of which are massive entertainment networks with some pretty big content under their belts. With these sorts of brands (which CEO Randall Stephenson refers to as first-rate) under AT&T’s already extensive umbrella, AT&T is looking to bring some competition and change to the media industry. Stephenson notes that as a result of the Time Warner acquisition and by bringing in top media brands it intends to shift how customers consume media, or more specifically how the media works for consumers as well as content creators, advertisers, and the distributors.
The merger has been a long process for AT&T, which has been trying to acquire the media corporation for nearly twenty months and only just getting approval “with no conditions” back on June 12 for the merger to go through. Though the merger is now just being made official AT&T has already had a strategy in place for how it will attempt to transform how media works, which essentially includes how people pay for that media, how it’s distributed to them so they can consume it, how it’s actually consumed, and how the media is created. Stephenson breaks AT&T’s plan down into a three-pronged approach, highlighting what he believes are the three elements that are needed to constitute the changes.
These key factors include offering premium content like those shows which air on HBO as well as blockbuster movies from studios like Warner Bros., a direct way to distribute that content to the consumers, which it’s already doing through built-up relationships with various TV networks and media providers, and lastly, a network that offers data speeds that are fast enough to support the amount of consumption of that media, in addition to the speeds needed to distribute it to the consumer quick enough to make that consumption enjoyable as well as possible. AT&T states that it has over 170 million “Direct To Consumer” distribution relationships that allow it offer the media to its subscribers, and it boasts its high-speed fiber network in addition to 5G investment as a pillar of being able to deliver that media to consumers at the required speeds for streaming high-quality content. Former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes will reportedly stay on with AT&T as a Senior Adviser, and AT&T will start consolidating Time Warner’s financial results with its own as of June 15, 2018.