Weeks after it was announced that Comcast was acquiring Time Warner to become the largest cable provider in the nation, AT&T has announced a similar deal with satellite television company DirecTV.
This is the second major collaboration that would create a further monopoly in the television/internet business. The deal, which was made for $49 billion, once more places AT&T directly in line as the primary competitor of the powerhouse Comcast.
This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens – mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes, Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO, said in an official statement.
At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders. DIRECTV is the best option for us because they have the premier brand in pay TV, the best content relationships, and a fast-growing Latin American business. DIRECTV is a great fit with AT&T and together we’ll be able to enhance innovation and provide customers new competitive choices for what they want in mobile, video and broadband services. We look forward to welcoming DIRECTV’s talented people to the AT&T family.
Already, AT&T has a pretty big stake in television viewing. As a major mobile and internet provider, this makes them all the more embedded in the process. Now they can gain massive profits from another avenue of viewing, where before it was primarily through services like Netflix and Hulu that could be streamed online or through phones.
The acquisition still has to be approved by regulators. But given the recent trend of the FCC to back the power of telecom companies, there is next to no chance it will be denied. Which means Comcast and AT&T will continue to be a massive driving force in consumer entertainment.
As for subscribers of DirecTV, there are some concerns about rising prices that will force them to pay more than they already are for service. Considering what a massive rip off paying for premium channels, whether through cable or satellite, already is, it hardly seems to matter. The many online services out there give plenty of access to shows both new and old. Why even get DirecTV in the first place?