March 4th, 2019 – AT&T announced far-reaching changes this morning after a conclusive court victory affirming its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. Rebranded, WarnerMedia, and the man at the helm is Robert Greenblatt, formerly chairperson at NBC. AT&T announced several restructuring changes in both HBO Inc. and Turner Broadcasting, consolidating them into one entity. WarnerMedia, under Greenblatt, will oversee truTV, TNT, TBS, and HBO. Reportedly, there will also be an intense focus on a direct-to-consumer service, to rival streaming giant Netflix.
AT&T is the current face of a telegraph and telephone company founded by none other than Alexander Graham Bell. For decades, AT&T offers stand as a cornerstone of American living. The mammoth corporation made waves last year by putting up in excess of $85 billion to acquire Time Warner Inc. The latest changes follow a decisive court victory clearing AT&T’s path to move ahead with the acquisition. Two of the first results for the shakedown include long-time employees Richard Plepler and David Levy. Plepler was formerly chairperson and CEO of HBO while Levy was formerly president of Turner Broadcasting. Both execs announced their resignations just a few short days before today’s announcement.
But what exactly do the changes entail? For one thing, warned media is leaning on HBO to produce and air more hours of original content. And this doesn’t mean just a few hours per month. John Stankey, a well-known AT&T executive plainly stated his need for “..hours a day. It’s not hours a week and its not hours a month”. This statement reportedly ruffled many feathers in the HBO trenches last June. However, it is clear that AT&T wants to push HBO to deliver enough original content to rival Netflix.
Another direction AT&T might need HBO to take is a move towards shorter content. Bite-sized content generally generates more viewership and engagement, especially on mobile devices. This may mean more curation of content that the network picks up. HBO, being a valuable brand, attracts a large viewership simply because people are interested in what they put before them. The challenge before WarnerMedia is to generate more content for evolving distribution models. All without losing quality over quantity. It will be interesting to see how exactly this pans out.
WarnerMedia is in possession of several valuable digital assets like Game of Thrones and Veep. AT&T, under the new restructuring, wants to deliver content that is on par when it comes to quality. But it also wants to increase the quantity and modernize distribution. At the heart of all this is the tantalizing over-the-top streaming service that Greenblatt hints at.
“They are looking at the unique sets of assets they have and want to bring them together in a streaming service.”
Here’s what the new WarnerMedia structure looks like. Under AT&T, the entity has 3 divisions. The WarnerMedia Entertainment division controls TNT, HBO, TBS, and TruTV under Robert Greenblatt. The direct-to-consumer streaming service also falls under this division. The WarnerMedia News and Sports division handle CNN, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, and AT&T regional sports networks. The division is under the leadership of Jeff Zucker. And finally, under Kevin Tsujihara the Warner Bros. Global Kids and Young Adults. This division will handle content on Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Otter Media, Cartoon Network and others.
For more details on the WarnerMedia acquisition and to stay updated on new developments, customers can call the AT&T customer service number: 1-855-850-5973. The public awaits to see how this new saga in the AT&T story turns out. Will it emerge as a serious contender with its streaming service? Or will it sustain a hit to the stellar HBO reputation?