WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Could Have Huge Impact on Streaming Wars

In 2016, wireless carrier AT&T decided to toss its hat into the entertainment world with its $85 million purchase of Time Warner. Well, just five years later, and AT&T is ready to pick up its hat and head home.


On Monday morning, AT&T and Discovery announced a $43 million deal that will see WarnerMedia spun off and combined with Discovery to form a new media company.


The deal is a white flag of surrender from AT&T, which has spent the last six years trying to compete with other streaming giants Netflix, Amazon, and Disney. After purchasing Direct TV and Time Warner, the company shifted its focus to streaming services with HBOMax. Despite steadily growing HBO subscriber numbers over the last year, AT&T's bungled launch of the streaming site seems to perfectly represent the company's time as owner of WarnerMedia- a great concept lacking any true identity.


This move is certain to shake up the entertainment industry. The new media company now houses all WarnerMedia and Discovery properties under the same umbrella, including HBO, Cinemax, DC Comics, TNT, TBS, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, TLC, and OWN, among several others.


AT&T and Discovery have also both pushed out major streaming apps in their own right over the last few years, with HBOMax and Discovery+ currently available to fans everywhere. There is no word yet if both services will continue separately, offered as a bundled package, or merged into one platform.


Either way, we are finally in for all of those Discovery and Time Warner crossovers fans desperately want to see. I am already dreaming of the fruit-based cooking competition hosted by Dwayne Johnson called "Melon Ballers." And painting houses can take on a whole new meaning with a Sopranos-themed home makeover show. The possibilities are endless.


Back in reality, the implication of the new partnership may take several years to play out. While agreed to over the last few days, the two companies expect to finalize the deal sometime in 2022.


For Discovery and Time Warner, this is a huge move, especially as we find ourselves amid the streaming wars. This deal is just the latest example of a media conglomerate expanding its offerings in hopes of staking its claim in the battle. The new company enters the fray with one of the deepest rosters yet. The combined WarnerMedia and Discovery library is quite extensive and features few competing properties that would consume one another. In other words, the new media service should offer a little something for everyone.


Of course, this could mean another rebrand for the HBOMax platform that has struggled to create a coherent identity among fans. Perhaps keeping the two separate, at least for the short term, would make the most sense.


Still, the prospects of forming a megaplatform may be to tempting. And as the race for subscribers continues, all bets are off.

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