And the list of companies that control all the television and movies you watch gets even smaller.
AT&T, the parent company of mass media giant WarnerMedia have officall announced to sell the Warner’s assets to Discovery Inc. who have unveiled their plan to merge their media and entertainment assets to create another media superheavyweight.
The deal will send TV Networks such as CNN, TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network to Discovery to merge with networks such as HGTV, Food Network and Discovery Channel. The deal will also send over the Warner Bros. film studio and combine streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+.
The new company which is yet to be named will compete with Disney and Netflix on the streaming battleground as well as on the television medium.
The new company will “compete globally in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer business, bringing compelling content to direct-to-consumer subscribers across its portfolio, including HBO Max and the recently launched Discovery+,” the firms said. “The transaction will combine WarnerMedia’s storied content library of popular and valuable IP with Discovery’s global footprint, trove of local-language content and deep regional expertise across more than 200 countries and territories.”
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will lead the merged company as CEO, and there is no word about a role for WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar. The companies say the deal will close in 2022, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.
The deal is another example mass media consolidation, in December 2019, Viacom and CBS remerged after being split by owner Sumner Redstone in 2006. The newly crowned ViacomCBS launched a streaming service, Paramount+, earlier this year. The Walt Disney Co. acquired the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox in a $71.3 billion blockbuster deal that paved the way for Disney+. Discovery previously bulked up in 2018 through the $14.6 billion takeover of Scripps Networks Interactive, the owner of Food Network and HGTV. Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBCUniversal in 2011 before taking full ownership in 2013.
The WarnerMedia/Discovery Inc deal could cost even more companies to merger in the near future in order to complete causing even fewer companies to control everything you watch on the small & big screen.