CEOs of Time Warner and AT&T Explain Why Regulators Should Approve the Merger — and Consumers Should Get Behind It Too

Oct 31, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Randall Stephenson, chief executive officer of AT&T, and Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, explained why the proposed $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. by AT&T, one of the largest media mergers in years, not only should gain regulators’ approval but also should be supported by consumers.

The two executives discussed the merger with Wall Street Journal deputy editor in chief Rebecca Blumenstein, suggesting it will drive down prices and increase competition. A centerpiece of their plan is DirecTV Now, which the companies aim to launch at the end of November.

Said Stephenson: “This isn’t the junk nobody wants. This is 100-plus premium channels, purely over the top, a mobile-centric platform, for $35 a month. It has all of Jeff’s content. It has all the premium content that you know and love. And that includes your mobile-streaming cost. It’s a game changer.”

Bewkes talked about the Facebook-Google “duopoly in digital-enabled advertising,” saying the merger will increase competition on the ad side.

“Competition always helps consumers,” he said. “And it gives advertisers better choices. But most important, it allows the consumer experience watching video to have more relevant ads, less intrusive and interruptive ads, therefore they’re more valuable. Therefore more of the burden of cost of content goes to advertising rather than to people.”

We encourage readers to click on the link to WSJ near the top of this story to read the full interview.

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