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10/24/16

Mega Media Data Control: AT&T Time Warner could be a costly disaster for US consumers

How is that even possible, you might ask? After all, AOL’s $164-billion takeover of Time Warner still stands as one of the worst deals of all time and for good reason.

But at least the combination of Time Warner’s media and cable assets with AOL’s online business was theoretically about trying to become part of the future of media and entertainment. Its influence was already waning at the time, but AOL had a foot in the emerging world of the Internet, and theoretically some knowledge about how it worked.

The collapse of that merger had more to do with a clash of cultures (something Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was a part of) than it did any kind of inherent strategic error in the combination itself, although there’s no question that AOL was wildly overvalued.

When we look at AT&T and Time Warner, it feels like a deal that is being driven by a vision of the past, not the future. It seems like a desperation move by both, an admission that they don’t really know what else to do, except try to get larger and hope everything works out for the best. And AT&T is paying a huge price for an uncertain outcome.

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