FAST FIVE: AT&T Strikes $43 Billion Deal With Discovery To Launch New Streaming Giant
Jason Kilar, the executive brought in last year to accelerate WarnerMedia's shift to streaming with HBO Max, was not mentioned in the merger filing, and it's not clear whether he will have a role in the new company.
As the FT points out, the deal “represents a humbling retreat for AT&T, which ran up one of corporate America's biggest debt piles in a gamble to become the world's biggest vertically integrated content and distribution company.
In the past year and a half, Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, Comcast, Discovery and others have launched streaming platforms as they battle for a piece of the future of entertainment.
Two years ago, AT&T CEO John Stankey and Discovery head David Zaslav discussed combining their programming into an $8/month streaming service which would exclude HBO, however Disney's announcement that it would drop its Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel and Disney Classics catalogue into a $7/month streaming service caused Stankey and Zaslav to scrap the plan.
Instead, Stankey created HBO Max, combining HBO with the rest of WarnerMedia's programming.