AT&T Combines WarnerMedia and Discovery into One Streaming Service, Which Could Be Good News for Your Wallet

Graeme Hunter / HBO

The streaming services business is about to get more crowded following the announcement that AT&T will spin off its WarnerMedia division (which includes HBO, CNN and many other media properties) and combine it with Discovery to create a standalone service that will compete with Neftlix and Disney+.

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As the parent of major networks as well as Warner Bros., the studio behind powerhouse movie franchises like “Batman” and “Harry Potter,” AT&T has the kind of entertainment clout to be a huge player in the streaming space, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Other titles in its more than 200,000 hours of programming include “Friends,” “Game of Thrones,” “Succession,” “The Big Bang Theory” and Discovery’s lineup of nature, cooking and home improvement shows. AT&T purchased the media assets of Time Warner three years ago for about $85 billion.

Under terms of the deal, AT&T will get $43 billion in cash and debt securities and take a 71% stake in the new business. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been named chief executive of the new business. Combining the two units should fetch at least $3 billion in annual cost synergies, officials said, which will likely include job cuts.

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The deal is expected to close in mid-2022, AOL reported. In a statement, AT&T said the new company will be able to produce more original content, provide customers with more innovation video experiences, and stoke investment in family friendly nonfiction shows – and so far, no show cancellations have been announced.

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Meanwhile, consumers get yet another option in a rapidly growing entertainment field. In the last 18 months alone, the launch of numerous new streaming services has helped push Disney+ to more than 100 million subscribers, and Netflix and Amazon Prime to more than 200 million each.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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