Evaluation: AT&T, Discovery deal highlights media’s thirst to be like Netflix


By Helen Coster

(Reuters) – Since AT&T purchased Time Warner in 2018 to compete with and Disney, the world of streaming video has solely gotten extra cutthroat.

The telecom big’s take care of Discovery Inc, introduced Monday, marks the newest shift within the remaking of the media {industry} and the potential starting of one other spherical of consolidation. An earlier wave three years in the past resulted in media mogul Rupert Murdoch leaving Hollywood and Viacom and CBS recombining.

The deal combining Discovery with AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia underscores the worth of scale in as we speak’s media panorama, the place {industry} leaders Inc and Walt Co are wanting exterior the USA for development.

Discovery brings a worldwide footprint with its pan-European tv sports activities community Eurosport, in addition to a portfolio of broadcast channels throughout Europe.

“The alternatives in direct-to-consumer streaming are quickly evolving, and to maintain tempo and retain a management place a number of issues are required: world scale, entry to capital, a broad array of high-quality content material and industry-best expertise,” stated AT&T Chief Government John Stankey throughout a press name Monday morning.

The brand new firm, with a reputation introduced by subsequent week, can have over 200,000 hours of programming and embrace 100 manufacturers – from HBO to Animal Planet to CNN and the Meals Community. It can embrace streaming companies corresponding to HBO Max and Discovery+, that are rising, however nonetheless considerably smaller than and Disney+.

HBO and HBO Max have 63.9 million world subscribers. Discovery has 15 million world streaming subscribers, most of them for Discovery+. That compares to 103.6 million for Disney+ and 207.6 million for Netflix.

ViacomCBS Inc and Comcast Corp could possibly be feeling strain to contemplate bulking up, analysts stated on Monday, because the panorama is about to alter as soon as once more.

Wealthy Greenfield, a companion and analyst at LightShed Companions, stated in a word on Monday that ViacomCBS was the one apparent potential companion for Comcast, however its CBS community and native information stations “are clear regulatory issues.”


Discovery’s world footprint will assist WarnerMedia’s worldwide enlargement as soon as the deal closes in mid-2022. HBO Max is scheduled to launch in June in 30 territories throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and to roll out in one other 21 markets throughout Europe within the second half of the 12 months.

WarnerMedia has plenty of U.S. TV distribution rights, together with offers with Main League Baseball, the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation, the Nationwide Hockey League and the N.C.A.A. by way of Turner Sports activities. Discovery has broadcast rights in Europe for the Olympic Video games by way of 2024, amongst others.

The opposite alternative is in information, Zaslav stated, the place Discovery has not too long ago invested in GB Information, a conservative-leaning channel in the UK. Zaslav stated the corporate intends to be long-term homeowners of CNN and teased additional world enlargement, mentioning Discovery’s information enterprise in Poland.​

“The direct-to-consumer momentum on each side will speed up our capability to be one of many high streaming on this planet,” stated Zaslav.

The deal builds on the sooner spherical of consolidation that noticed bulking up by way of a number of transactions over a few years: from its 2017 deal to purchase Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc – which introduced franchises like “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” inside the corporate – to earlier purchases by then-CEO Bob Iger, which included Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Leisure and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm.

These offers helped propel Disney’s launch of its Disney+ streaming companies in November 2019, which rapidly exceeded expectations, reaching 10 million sign-ups in its first day.

The 2019 merger of Viacom and CBS had an analogous intention, positioning the corporate to rebrand its CBS All Entry streaming service into Paramount+, bolstered by content material throughout the CBS tv community, CBS Information and Showtime cable networks with MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and the Paramount film studios.


(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York. Further reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas. Enhancing by Kenneth Li and Lisa Shumaker)

(Solely the headline and movie of this report could have been reworked by the Enterprise Customary workers; the remainder of the content material is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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