Saturday, entertainment powerhouse Time Warner, which owns HBO, CNN and Warner Brothers, agreed to be acquired by wireless giant AT&T in an $85.4 billion proposed transaction.
AT&T, in a news release, said consumers would see a stronger “alternative to cable & other video providers,” better value and more choices.
However, the deal “raises major challenges for consumers, subscribers and competitors,” says Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-area advocacy group.
The deal follows recent corporate marriages — AT&T rival Verizon’s alliance with AOL in 2015 and proposed acquisition of Yahoo, and cable TV giant Comcast’s swallowing up all of NBC Universal in 2013. AT&T added satellite provider DirecTV in 2015.
“This is all about tracking and targeting us regardless of whether we use a mobile device, PC or TV,” Chester says. “Through the growing capability of mobile phones to follow and geo-target us everywhere we go — the supermarket, while in a car, or even on the street, these new broadband ISP/mobile/TV giants are extending their powerful digital tentacles further into our lives.”
But Peter Csathy, the CEO of industry consultancy CREATV Media, says consumers will benefit from the marriage, with more programming available than ever before for mobile consumption.
“It’s war now,” he says. “You have this growing number of behemoths all competing against each each other, and the big weapon is content.”
First appeared on USAToday.