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AT&T buys Time Warner for US$85.4bn or 1.25 Dell-EMCs

Batman, HBO, Harry Potter, CNN to become 'addressable advertised personal social mobile experience'

By Simon Sharwood, 23 Oct 2016

AT&T has agreed to acquire Time Warner for US$85.4bn.

Time Warner is a content company that owns HBO, Warner Brothers, Cartoon Network, cable news channel CNN, celebrity gossip outfit TMZ.com, DC Comics, major sporting web sites and plenty of other brands. AT&T is the United States' leading mobile carrier, and also operates networks in Latin America.

The aim of this deal is to bring video to devices, everywhere. Or as the canned statement about the acquisition says says , “Combined company positioned to create new customer choices — from content creation and distribution to a mobile-first experience that’s personal and social.”

There's also this to chew on:

Customer insights across TV, mobile and broadband will allow new company to: offer more relevant and valuable addressable advertising; innovate with ad-supported content models; better inform content creation; and make OTT [over the top] and TV Everywhere products smarter and more personalized.

Or in other words: “This program and the ads in it are brought to you by data science. Data science, breathing life into old media since 2010.”

It will also be brought to you in a manner to match the likes of Netflix, as Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, says in his bit of the canned statement that “A big customer pain point is paying for content once but not being able to access it on any device, anywhere. Our goal is to solve that.”

Which sounds like Stephenson is not that keen on letting Google and Apple get their hands on Time Warner content.

Stephenson also thinks “Our TV, mobile and broadband distribution and direct customer relationships provide unique insights from which we can offer addressable advertising and better tailor content. It’s an integrated approach and we believe it’s the model that wins over time.”

AT&T has 100 million customers. But telcos everywhere have a modest record turning their customer bases into successful services beyond basic carriage.

Maybe that's why this deal is valued at “just” 1.27 EMCs. And if all those media brands are worth just 1.25 times a storage giant thought to be carrion for cloud providers, what does it say about the advertising business? He said nervously as he wrote this story for an adverting supported web site … ®

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