CNN on Discovery’s Merger With WarnerMedia

CNN’s update on Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia:

A media behemoth is born

David can actually beat Goliath!”

That’s how Rich Greenfield, the influential LightShed Partners media analyst, summed up Friday’s big media news, the completion of Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia. CEO David Zaslav and team “find themselves in a position that was unimaginable two years ago — sitting near the top of Hollywood,” Greenfield said.

Yes, Warner Bros. Discovery was officially born on Friday afternoon, right after the end of the trading day. The merger creates a media mammoth that will reshape the streaming landscape.

“I am thrilled to share that we have crossed the finish line: Our transaction with AT&T to bring together WarnerMedia and Discovery has just closed!” Zaslav wrote in a memo to employees, including CNN staffers. In a public statement, Zaslav hailed the new company as exciting “not just for Warner Bros. Discovery but for our shareholders, our distributors, our advertisers, our creative partners and, most importantly, consumers globally.”

“With our collective assets and diversified business model, Warner Bros. Discovery offers the most differentiated and complete portfolio of content across film, television and streaming,” Zaslav added.

It is, in other words, a serious challenge to Netflix andDisney+.

“We are well positioned to become a top-tier streaming competitor,” Zaslav wrote. He confirmed that the main streaming services from each side of the company, HBO Maxand discovery+, will be brought “into a single product in the future.”

Brian Stelter has more in our full story for CNN Business…

Something once unthinable

Here’s how NYT’s John Koblin marked the moment: “Discovery, the medium-size media company that began as a small cable network in 1985, has completed something once unthinkable: assuming ownership of a fabled Hollywood company that controls Batman, Harry Potter, ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ CNN and March Madness.” He noted that the merger will send ripples throughout the industry and “could push smaller competitors to hunt for deals to beef up in size. And it means that rivals like Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple now have a new ferocious competitor for streaming dominance…”

Stankey says goodbye

As of Friday, AT&T has officially, and expensively, unwound its 2018 takeover of Time Warner. Execs are pledging to refocus on broadband. CEO John Stankey bid farewell to Warner in a candid memo to staffers that said “getting to this moment was one of the more difficult decisions of my life.” He said “it came with a fair amount of anxiety, disappointment, and concern relative to the changes it would trigger.” But, he added, “All considered, I remain confident we have set the right path.”

“Over time,” Stankey wrote, “the combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery will bring forth a stronger company and quicken the already strong pace of innovation and change you have established…

More news on the merge

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