AT&T has announced it will sell and merge WarnerMedia with Discovery Communications.
Discovery Communications owns of a myriad of niche unscripted programming. It owns channels like, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, and OWN. Discovery Communications also has its own streaming service Discovery Plus.
Discovery Communications is buying Warner Media for $43 billion worth of cash and debt. AT&T previously bought Warner Media for $85 billion in 2018. This new merged company is will generate $52 billion by 2023.
What Does the Merger Mean?
Discovery CEO David Zaslav will run the new media conglomerate if the merger is approved by regulators. However, despite Zaslav running the new company, AT&T shareholders will actually own a whooping 71% of it.
It’s unclear how this merger will affect the HBO Max streaming service, or any film and television projects from Warner Bros. Currently, HBO Max boasts of 45 million subscribers. The Discovery Plus streaming service has a more modest 15 million subscribers. Perhaps the two streaming services will begin to share content across platforms? Alternatively, maybe the two services can merge into one.
The unusual arrangement of a new CEO seems to imply that AT&T is relenting creative control to Discovery. Perhaps this merger signals a change in creative direction for Warner Bros franchises?
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