AT&T to merge media business with Discovery
May 18, 2021 - AT&T is to spin-off and merge WarnerMedia with its rival Discovery to create a streaming giant combining Warner Bros film and TV studios, HBO and CNN with Discovery’s global footprint.
The deal underscores the value of scale in today’s media landscape, where industry leaders Netflix and Walt Disney Co are looking outside the United States for growth.
The new company, likely to be called Warner Discovery, will have a value of about $132 billion, over 200,000 hours of programming and 100 brands, including DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Eurosport, Magnolia, TLC and Animal Planet. It will incorporate streaming services such as HBO Max and Discovery+, which are growing but still significantly smaller than Netflix and Disney+.
“I think, together, the combination makes us the best media company in the world,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who will run the new company.
WarnerMedia and Discovery launched their streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery+, within the past two years. The combined streaming service will have a vast array of content to offer: TV shows, news with CNN, and U.S. sports, including the NBA and NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Discovery has broadcast rights in Europe for the Olympic Games through 2024
HBO Max and HBO have a combined global subscriber base of about 63.9 million, and Discovery+ has about 15 million subscribers. That compares with Netflix, which has more than 207 million subscribers worldwide, Amazon Prime Video with 175 million, and Disney+, which counts over 103 million.