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October 24, 2016updated 26 Oct 2016 4:31pm

AT&T and Time Warner – 5 negative reactions

And what it could spark in the UK

By Sam

Five reasons it is a terrible idea

  • Some will say AT&T must not be allowed to take over Warner Bros because once it owns the pipes and the content it will raise issues around net neutrality as it will control the network and the content.
  • The fear, as was raised in 2011 when cable company Comcast bought the NBC network, is whether AT&T owning the network means it will favour its own (i.e. Warner) content over that of its rivals. In short will Americans be able to get the same access to content from all owners.

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In July CBR interviewed AT&T chief strategy officer John Donovan. He told us about the shifting business landscape in telecoms and services. 

AT&T regularly meets with the web scale players in this new ecosystem. “We talk about how the services integrate while knowing they are going after our customers and knowing that we distribute a lot of their operating systems and that they’re playing pretty heavily against us in new regulatory areas. That’s just the new world we live in. You have to get over yourself,” he says. Read the full interview.

  • We know that banks can be too big to fail. But can companies be too big to succeed? AT&T took a mild swipe at Google when it bought fiber in the ground in the US saying it was a complicated business that google knew little or nothing about.
  • When Time Warner last got involved with a technology company it was the infamous AOL take over of the media giant. This caused consternation at the time as it was a content provider merging with an internet access provider. Unfortunately for all concerned it turned out to be ‘the biggest mistake in corporate history.’

Four possible scenarios for the UK

 

Four possible impacts for the UK

  • Competition in satellite TV could increase
  • BT might be tempted to buy ITV
  • When BT launched BT sport some saw this as slightly bad news for Sky customers who once had Champions League and Premiership football all to themselves. But it has spurred lots of activity Sky planning to move much deeper into the consumer broadband market – it could bring real competition at scale to the broadband sector.
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    Still the world’s onscreen entertainment centre

  • Ina market where fewer firms control more pieces of the market  it could lead to an environment where ‘everyone does everything’ and has to be truthful about it. Netflix is often cited as the perfect example of a company which marries data, web delivery and creativity to drive its business forward. It creates content based on its target demographic which in informed by vast data lakes. It streams its content to its audience over other people’s pipes. So AT&T owning Warner Bros could actually mean in the long run there is total openness about performance of content delivery over rival networks – first in the US, then in the UK.

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