Tags: Time Warner | AT&T | merger | television

Time Warner, AT&T CEOs Make Case for $85 Billion Merger

Time Warner, AT&T CEOs Make Case for $85 Billion Merger

Randall Stephenson, chief executive officer of AT&T, and Jeff Bewkes, head of Time Warner. (Photo: Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 31 October 2016 09:50 AM

The chief executives of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. said the proposed $85.4 billion merger of the media and telecom giants will be good for consumers and should be approved by regulators.

“We’re actually trying to bring prices down,” Randall Stephenson, chief executive officer of AT&T, told The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Blumenstein.

The cable company is in the process of putting together a package of 100 premium channels for $35 a month in an effort to reach an audience of households that are canceling cable TV while subscribing to video streaming services like Netflix.

“You now have 20 millions households that have left the premium-content system,” Stephenson said. “This is one of the things we’re trying to do. How do you begin to do something to access that segment of the market with premium content?”

Time Warner’s HBO has its own streaming service that allows fans of shows like “Game of Thrones” to watch TV without a cable subscription. Stephenson said the merger won’t hinder Time Warner from distributing its content through competitive cable systems.

“Time Warner will continue to distribute its content widely and broadly,” Stephenson said. “AT&T won’t have exclusive access to it.”

The proposed merger was met with skepticism from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and rival Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, according to CBS.

“If you’re looking into competition, this is going to be extremely helpful to increase competition in advertising,” Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of media giant Time Warner, told the newspaper.

The integration of TV with technology “allows the consumer experience watching video to have more relevant ads, less intrusive and interruptive ads, therefore they’re more valuable. Therefore more of the burden of cost of content goes to advertising rather than to people,” Bewkes said.

Time Warner merged with America Online in 2000 as the dot-com bubble reached its peak. The value of the combined company subsequently collapsed, leading to its eventual breakup. Bewkes in 2010 described the AOL merger as "the biggest mistake in corporate history."


 

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The chief executives of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. said the proposed $85.4 billion merger of the media and telecom giants will be good for consumers and should be approved by regulators.
Time Warner, AT&T, merger, television
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2016-50-31
Monday, 31 October 2016 09:50 AM
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