How AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner will impact cord-cutters

“On Tuesday, a federal judge granted AT&T’s longstanding wish to acquire Time Warner,” Jared Newman writes for TechHive. “The purchase will combine a major provider of internet and TV service with a major media conglomerate that owns television networks, studios, and entertainment properties.”

“At the moment, it’s unclear whether the government will appeal the case. But assuming the merger proceeds, we can already predict what it could mean for cord-cutters. In the short term, the merger might provide some consumer benefits, as AT&T upholds the promises it made while pitching the public on its plans,” Newman writes. “But those benefits will come at a cost, as more companies that control your internet access gain a tighter grip on the content flowing through their pipes.”

“If you subscribe to DirecTV Now and have AT&T wireless service, AT&T will let you watch unlimited television on your phone without counting it against your data cap. Hypothetically, AT&T could now expand that benefit to HBO Now and other Time Warner-owned streaming services,” Newman writes. “That sounds nice on the surface, but it also creates an unlevel playing field for other services, such as Netflix and Sling TV, if they want to reach AT&T’s customers. They can exempt their own services from data caps as well, but only if they pay AT&T for the privilege. By owning more must-have streaming services, AT&T can put more pressure on its competitors to pay the toll, and those costs would inevitably be passed onto customers.”

“AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner is rare in that it combines a producer of content (Time Warner) with a content distributor (AT&T),” Newman writes. “By allowing this kind of merger to proceed, the court has signaled that it might welcome so-called “vertical” mergers, which is why, one day after the ruling, Comcast launched an attempt to outbid Disney on assets from 21st Century Fox. Such a deal would have all kinds of important ramifications, but perhaps the most pertinent to cord-cutters is that Fox owns 30 percent of Hulu, as do Disney and Comcast respectively. (AT&T, incidentally, will own the remaining 10 percent through Time Warner.)”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll certainly be interesting to see how all of this proceeds. Hopefully enough competition exists to drive down costs for consumers.

Comcast bids $65 billion for 21st Century Fox assets, topping Disney – June 14, 2018


    1. “Hopefully enough competition exists to drive down costs for consumers.”
      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You know, it takes a LOT of hope to look out into the current landscape of merged content/ISP companies and still think there’s room to HOPE that competition exists. I’d ask, if there’s NOT enough competition, THEN what? I’d imagine it’s like the MDN statement on “so called” Net Neutrality. “We’re against government intervention until it’s too late for government intervention, then the government should intervene” Of course, the main way for the government to actually intervene isn’t in place anymore.

      1. Except that “Net Neutrality” did not increase the number of ISP’s. It did not increase competition between ISP’s. It did not solve any problem. Dear Mr/Ms “Wrong Again”, this is a dynamic marketplace. People are dumping cable packages; they are streaming. So instead of 100 channels of programming, the data pipes now must carry millions of individual streams. This requires huge investment. Like most regulations, Net Neutrality inhibits investment and therefore preserves the status quo. “Net Neutrality” was good for the pols who peddled it and inflicted it upon us. It did not increase competition. It did not lower prices.

        1. You made some good, if irrelevant points. Blaming Net Neutrality for the bullshit inflicted on citizens via ‘legal’ cable monopolies across the USA, and therefore the resulting limited number of ISPs using the same cable, is incoherent.

          You’re also attempting to pretend that ‘millions of individual streams’ across cable is something new. No it’s not.

          You’re also attempting to whine about investing in bandwidth. If you’d actually paid attention to what’s been going on, you’d know full well that Verizon were PAID, via an approved service fee, to expand their network in New York. Instead, Verizon took the money and simply ATE IT. They never invested it in network expansion.

          What we’ve got are a bunch of greedy, abusive, parasitic companies that JUST WANT THE MONEY and have zero interest in benefiting the customer. It’s the sharp end of the current Spirit Of The Age of bad Biznizz: ABUSE THY CUSTOMER.

          It has nothing to do with Net Neutrality.

          Now that LIAR Ajit Pai has FORCED us all to do with out Net Neutrality for the short term (at least), we’re going to get to watch these greedy, abusive, parasitic companies pull their most vile trickery on us all, entirely AS PREDICTED, by GOUGING us if we want to use bandwidth and media source of which they DO NOT APPROVE.

          IOW: We end up paying more for less.

          It’s already been tried several times:
          • Caps
          • Bandwidth limits
          • Outrageous price gouging per GB over a contracted limit
          • Throwing high bandwidth users OFF the Internet at will.
          • Jacking up access prices with zero justification
          • Refusal to expand networks because bean counters don’t see the desired investment to profit ratio.
          • Throttling bandwidth at will for any reason whatsoever.
          • Ad Fricking Nauseam!

          Thank the LOSS of Net Neutrality for all the NEW user abuse coming our way.

          Thank Ajit Pai’s lying yet again for the lack of government response to the onslaught of citizen/user abuse.

          Now I’ll just sit back and watch the nightmares come true. Sadly, cynicism is so rarely wrong.

            1. Net Neutrality has never been a ‘law’. It could be a law, if our lazy ass, non-representing, puppeted Congress would cut its strings and write a Net Neutrality law.

              And repealing Net Neutrality rules stops any horrors? No it doesn’t. It invites horrors, as I pointed out.

              What you should notice is how the imposition of Net Neutrality rules PREVENTED all the oncoming customer abuse new unleashed. That was the entire point of FCC Net Neutrality rules: No Customer Abuse by the greedy, abusive, parasitic companies. But now it’s gone, for now.

            2. what was repealed or done away with by the current administration that has you upset about the current chairman? as the other poster pointed out no new flood of ISPs were created under the previous administration

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