Why stop there? Maybe Turner entertainment TV networks are also on the list. Could Warner Bros.' theatrical movie unit be far behind? Sounds crazy. Yet there is this from John Stankey, CEO of AT&T:
“There’s nothing that’s sacred anywhere in the business,” he said speaking to The Wall Street Journal, referring to the company as a whole. “WarnerMedia is no exception to that.”
Stankey then went deeper, addressing TV content. He said that every hour someone watches Turner kids programming on HBO Max, Turner’s Cartoon Network, the linear TV network, becomes “less valuable.”
We know AT&T isn’t -- at the moment -- thinking about dropping Cartoon Network, not when it still brings major advertising/affiliate fee revenue.
Still, you could apply this mindset to many areas of WarnerMedia. Add any scripted entertainment programming running on HBO Max, programming that originated on TNT and TBS: Do those networks become less valuable, too?
What about theatrical movies -- at least those nonblockbuster franchise summer/winter movies, which offer up weaker box-office results? Should they be on streaming platforms as well, helping grow those businesses?
AT&T has more to figure out about movie/TV content in light of this and seemingly non-stop major staff changes (and possible future staffing cuts) at WarnerMedia.
AT&T seems desperate to cut costs.
Right now, this can include merging business units. For one, much of Xandr’s advanced advertising responsibilities have been moved within WarnerMedia, to essentially its ad-supported Turner network units.
At the same time, AT&T is also considering selling Xandr and its subsidiary, AppNexus, which AT&T bought for $1.6 billion in 2018. Xandr's revenue fell 25% to $362 million in Q2 due to the pandemic, in line with most advertising-related companies.
AT&T also wants to sell DirecTV, which it bought for $67.1 billion in 2015; now it would just get $20 billion. DirecTV has sustained major subscriber losses in recent years.
All this begs the question: How does AT&T see itself -- as a company with slimmed down TV-media content/distribution assets?
Seems like mobile phone/broadband services, HBO Max, a virtual pay TV service, a platform for NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournement and NBA basketball (TNT), and perhaps CNN -- which has seen renewed ad growth of late -- are what remains.
Synergy? Few use that word these days. Slim-ergy?