Tuesday, October 25, 2016

About that AT&T/Time Warner merger

A few days ago, it hit the news that AT&T was looking to acquire Time Warner. Since Time Warner is the parent company of TCM, any number of TCM fans started worrying. I'm not a media analyst or anything like that, but I think any worry is overblown.

If the merger is about acquiring channels, I think other channels than TCM are the focus. CNN would be a likely one. And since AT&T owns DirecTV, one would have to guess that TCM's space on DirecTV wouldn't be in any jeopardy. I suppose other cable providers could try to harm AT&T's channels, but that would open up a legal can of worms. (There was some controversy some years back with Comcast trying to shaft some non-Comcast niche sports channels.) Any threat to a channel like TCM would come from the general shift to streaming media, and the complicated rights situations that brings up.

And of course, there's the possibility the deal won't go through. A lot of grandstanding legislators and regulators think they should have a say in the matter. Both halves of the Clump v. Trinton presidential campaign have implied the merger may not be a certainty. That having been said, I pointed out back in October 2011 that getting government involved isn't a panacea.

In short, whatever happens to TCM is going to happen regardless of any merger, I think. Why waste time worrying about it?

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