Hollywood was rocked once more recently when another major media merger was announced, seemingly out of nowhere. AT&T has decided to spin off WarnerMedia in a merger with Discover that will create a new media company. This will effectively take AT&T out of the media business, turning it back into a major telecommunications company. Meanwhile, the new company emerging from the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger is poised to become an industry powerhouse.
While it may not be as flashy, on the surface, as the Disney / Fox merger was a few years ago, the implications for the industry are no less dire. And that ultimately means that consumers who enjoy movies and TV shows, especially in the world of streaming, will encounter some potentially big changes. While much remains to be determined in the coming months, here is a breakdown of what the merger means.
WarnerMedia and Discover to become a new company
Just a few years ago, AT&T merged with Time Warner, which formed WarnerMedia. This was seen as the way forward in a rapidly changing media landscape. A massive telecommunications company that owns and operates media companies, like Warner Bros., to control both sides of the equation. However, AT&T, burdened with enormous debt, has abandoned the experiment just several years later. Now, Discovery is seizing the opportunity to create a new Hollywood giant that can take on Netflix.
The $ 43 billion deal will see AT&T convert all of WarnerMedia’s assets to Discover. While the new name of the company to be formed has yet to be revealed, it will undoubtedly be a big player in the streaming landscape. WarnerMedia controls HBO Max, one of the largest streaming services in the game. Discovery, meanwhile, has Discovery +. It is unclear whether the services will merge or remain separate, as Disney did with Disney + and Hulu. Either way, the new company will have enormous resources to compete. To that end, Discovery CEO David Zaslav has spoken of investing up to $ 20 billion annually on content. That’s a lot of movies and TV shows.
What brands will be included in this new company?
Both WarnerMedia and Discovery have many major brands in a wide range of entertainment. When these companies merge, it means that all those brands will be under the same roof. As such, there will be ample opportunity for franchise plays, great streaming deals, and changes for live sports and even TV news. At this stage, it is unclear what the leadership of this new company will do. But it’s probably helpful to understand what brands are at stake here.
WarnerMedia includes HBO Max, Warner Bros., Dc comics and Adult Swim, for starters. They also have networks like CNN, TNT, truTV, HLN, Cinemax, Turner Classic Movies and Cartoon Network. The company also has Rooster Teeth Crunchyroll under its vast umbrella. And that’s just a scratch off the surface, as each of those brands contains a ton of intellectual property. Warner Bros., for example, controls the Harry Potter franchise. That is just one example.
Discover has an equally stacked deck. Its stable of networks includes HGTV, Food Network, TLC, OWN, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, and Motor Trend, among others. They also have a sizeable digital footprint with brands like NowThis, The Dodo, Food, and Thrillist, just to name a few. Without too much speculation, it is easy to see that there is a lot on the table with this fusion.
What does this mean for the DC universe?
DC is one of the largest brands WarnerMedia has at its disposal. The DCEU is rolling along with many new movies on the way, such as Suicide Squad, Aquaman 2 Y The flash, Among many others. We also have movies like The batman that exist in different universes entirely. Also, it shows how Pacifier will expand the DC brand on HBO Max. DC has a lot to offer and, one could argue, there is untapped potential there.
As for what will this newly formed company do? It can be assumed that there will be more to come from DC Films, in addition to the television projects. For now, there has been no specific indication. But when it comes to streaming and dominance in Hollywood, rest assured that the new company will make use of DC and its stable of heroes. A change in leadership could mean a change in creative direction behind the scenes, that’s for sure. But DC isn’t going away anytime soon. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar is said to be negotiating an exit from the company. In fact, big changes are coming.
What about Warner Bros. Interactive?
One of the newest elements of the deal so far is the fate of Warner Bros. Interactive. WarnerMedia’s digital company is responsible for many video games, with TT Games, Rocksteady Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Monolith Productions, WB Games Boston, Avalanche Software, and WB Games Montréal. Currently, the indication is that Warner Bros. Interactive will split as a result of the merger. This means that the various studios housed within the company could be scattered and divided. Until more details are provided, it is difficult to say what this will mean for the future. But the fate of many video games and LEGO franchises like Mortal Kombat could be at stake here.
More news and sports could go live
When examining the brands at stake in this merger, one thing is clear; Both companies have a large stake in the cable television game. Specifically, there is a lot of news and a lot of sports at stake here. CNN, NBA and MLB, everything is in line for a major shakeup with the merger. The deal has a lot to do with broadcasting. Netflix and Disney + are at the top of the hill. Everyone else wants a bigger slice of the cake. Moving things like popular cable news and major sporting events to streaming would be one way to get attention.
This is not to say that cable news networks or basketball games will exclusively go the broadcast route for the next year or so. But just like Amazon Prime Video made a massive deal for Thursday Night Football, don’t be surprised to see similar moves taking place in the future as this merger progresses. Not to mention, Disney owns ESPN and has been pushing ESPN + in a big way. A CNN streaming service wouldn’t be out of the question. The point is, this could go a long way toward cutting the wire, moving further into a world dominated by broadcasting.
How soon will the merger take place?
Like the Disney / Fox deal, or when AT&T merged with Time Warner, this will be a long process. It won’t happen overnight. Currently, the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger isn’t expected to take effect until 2022. A deal of this size is subject to regulatory approval, and that’s not an easy process. There’s even a chance that regulatory bodies will get in the way of this deal, potentially wrecking the gears. I mean, nothing happens yet. But when / if the deal is cleared, expect a big change This news originated in IGN.
Topics: HBO Max, Streaming