Category: WarnerMedia

Weapons of mass (value) destruction

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

Telecom companies tend not to be particularly good at anything, including running their own businesses. They never seem to learn — only to spend incompetently on expansions into new markets involving content and media. I would go as far as to say that, when it comes to shareholder value, their repeated attempts at “diversification” are weapons of mass destruction. 

Three years ago, AT&T spent $85.4 billion (plus $23.3 billion in debt) to buy TimeWarner’s media business. AT&T dreamed of building out a streaming media platform to compete with Netflix, the current  (and likely future) big kahuna of the streaming revolution. That misadventure is coming to an end.

So is another ill-planned fling. In 2014, AT&T spent almost $67 billion (with $18.6 billion in debt) and bought DIRECTV. Earlier this year, AT&T hived off its three video businesses into a new company. This entity includes DIRECTV, AT&T’s fiber-to-the-home TV service called U-Verse, and something called AT&T TV. The new entity is unimaginatively called DIRECTV (New DIRECTV.) It’s hard to believe people got paid for this. 

The final pick is a not so-so ironic name choice

Here is the kicker: TPG, the private-equity giant, got 30 percent ownership of the new company and valued the company at $16.25 billion, a third of what AT&T paid in cash, and less than the debt it took on when it bought DIRECTV. TPG paid $1.8 (Read more...)

Gillmor Gang: HBO Plus

With one fell swoop, WarnerMedia eradicated the status quo in Hollywood, turning its 2021 feature film schedule on its head. Well, not quite. By moving 2021’s theatrical releases to both physical and digital theaters, the AT&T affiliate gave us a reason to sign up for its HBOMax streaming service. With a simultaneous window of one month per title, the idea is that the vaccines will govern the timetable for viable return to movies plus popcorn.

Streaming has picked the lock on our path to the future. Even Donald Trump thinks so. Faced with open refusal by the networks to carry his rants about the election, he’s taken to Facebook Live to produce “press conferences” with his own cameras and no press. These shows are designed to fuel contributions of (so far) 200 million dollars to fund what in essence will be a nonstop infomercial campaign for the 2024 election. One problem: I don’t think it will work.

Instead, millions of Americans will begin to turn working from home into living through work. Digital networks like Zoom are becoming a superhighway for transforming ideas into post-pandemic realities. As the vaccines take root, we’ll inexorably restore the dream of mobility, the feeling of hitting the open road in search of our dreams. Only this time, we’re taking our families, friends, and coworkers with us. The rise of digital devices and notifications is disrupting the old business models and replacing them with next best step workflow.

We know what the office gives us: (Read more...)