WarnerMedia Discovery Merger: AT&T Selling Their Media Branch
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AT&T Selling WarnerMedia to Discovery, In A Merger That Rivals That Of Disney-Fox 

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BY May 23, 2021

Last week, the entertainment industry got caught off guard with a new announcement that made waves. It wasn’t a new trailer or casting news for an upcoming superhero movie, but it was news of a corporate nature. It was all about how a WarnerMedia and Discovery merger is underway. WarnerMedia represents one of the biggest entertainment studios in the industry, while Discovery boasts of a large network of reality-based, unscripted content. The merger between these two giants is sure to create a major ripple effect in the industry. The news also immediately brought back memories of another recent merger between Disney and Fox, the final effects of which still haven’t fully come into play. Read on for more about the WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger.

How AT&T Got Involved In Hollywood And Why They’re Getting Out

WarnerMedia Discovery merger AT&T Image via AT&T.

The New York Times piece that outlines the details of the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger, speaks of the reasons why it’s even happening. But to understand those reasons, we need some context. AT&T is a telecommunications behemoth, that decided to enter Hollywood a few years ago, by purchasing Time Warner, another telecommunication conglomerate. Included in that deal, was WarnerMedia which includes the Warner Bros. film and television studios, and many other hit-making networks, like HBO. 

It was under AT&T’s umbrella that the streaming service of HBO Max launched, with varying results. After spending billions on that launch, despite some successful content made exclusively for the service like The Flight Attendant and Zack Snyder’s Justice League., HBO Max still struggled. This could be the biggest sign of why AT&T is now deciding to ‘shed’ the media portion of their huge acquisition, which could be the biggest reason behind the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger. 

How Discovery Fits Into The WarnerMedia Discovery Merger

WarnerMedia Discovery merger Warner. Image via WarnerMedia.

On the other side, Discovery Inc. is a media company that is pretty successful in their niche market. Focusing more on reality and unscripted content, the company’s biggest stars are the Oprah Winfrey-owned OWN, as well as HGTV. The addition of WarnerMedia should really boost the profile of Discovery into a new, mostly unexplored arena of content. Especially given that Warner Media’s content is all over the place, in a great way, with shows like Ted Lasso and Riverdale, and basically anything that is an HBO original. The merger should be complete by mid-next year. So it’s still unsure of how all these varying kinds of content will play with one another. 

What The WarnerMedia Discovery Merger Means For The Industry

WarnerMedia Discovery merger NBC. Image via NBC.

If you’re still trying to understand how this WarnerMedia and Discovery merger will affect the industry, you’re not alone. Currently, the biggest studios in the market, both on traditional media and streaming, are Netflix, Disney, and NBCUniversal. Netflix is responsible for a variety of content such as Oscar-nominated movies like Mank, or the recent Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead. While Disney is churning out brand new movies and shows from their Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney-owned franchises. NBCUniversal owns broadcast networks like NBC, home of Saturday Night Live, as well as the newly launched streaming app Peacock. 

Now, combined, Warner Media and Discovery made over $41 billion in sales in the past year. If the merger was completed today, the new company would be ahead of  Netflix, NBCUniversal, and right behind Disney. This is huge. For a merger to come out of nowhere and step right into the number two position, is game-changing. While this WarnerMedia and Discovery merger isn’t as exciting as the Disney-Fox merger, with the potential of X-Men coming into the MCU, it’s still huge. How this merger will even affect its networks, franchises, content, and their streaming apps, is still up in the air. We’ll have to wait for a little over a year to find out the details as they emerge. 

Stay tuned for more on the Warner Media and Discovery merger as it happens. 

How do you feel about this new merger? Let us know in the comments below. 

Featured Image via WarnerMedia. 

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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