Film | by Shane “Merger Mania” Hnetka
Just so you know, MY next Hnetflix column (Nov. 24) will be focusing on the many streaming services available to Canadians. Canada doesn’t get all the cool services that the U.S. gets even though most of our TV, movies, etc. all come from them. Oh, the complaining there will be.
In the meantime: let’s talk corporate monopolies because that will be fun.
AT & DC
So it looks like AT&T, the mega-phone company (as opposed to a megaphone company) is going to buy Time Warner, creating a new mega-corporation. So what does that mean for Warner Bros.? Well, probably not too much. AT&T has never really dabbled in Hollywood, and other than buying the company to have a stake in burgeoning world of Internet streaming services, I can’t see AT&T wanting to micro-manage Warner Bros.’ intellectual property.
This might be a bad thing, because Warner Bros. could use some micro-managing.
Warner really needs a shake-up. They’ve been trying to compete with Disney for the last couple of years and failing quite spectacularly. Even the people running DC Comics (which is a subsidiary of Warner) have been messing things up for a while now (although it’s been better lately).
Warner needs to figure out what they are as a studio and what kind of entertainment they’re making. Because right now, their brand is “our stuff sucks and we don’t know what we’re doing.”
Creating Another Monster
On the other hand, buying Time Warner helps AT&T consolidate their Internet dominance in the United States. A lot of people see this as a bad, bad thing. They believe that it will help AT&T out-compete rival services and ultimately gouge consumers.
Case in point: AT&T bought DirecTV in 2014 and now has turned it into a streaming service. And AT&T customers who subscribe to DirecTV will not be charged for going over their data limits.
Essentially, AT&T customers can stream as much DirecTV as they want not have to pay extra. Doing that, and adding Time Warner to DirecTV, could create some huge problems for AT&T’s competitors (like Netflix).
(Then again, the whole data limits thing is a rip-off anyway)
None of this directly affects us up in Canada but it will be interesting to see what happens.; Could it change anything up here? We’ll see.
Shane Hnetka is a Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.