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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
More on the future of Discovery / WarnerMedia
The future of a soon-to-be merged WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc is starting to take shape. Sorta. Kinda.
Yesterday came news of the Discovery / WarnerMedia merger. We knew that AT&T were spinning off its big, shiny media asset and merging it with Discovery Inc. And today, well, we don't actually know a whole lot more. But it has been confirmed.
What do we know now:
Discovery chief David Zaslav will head this new company, which will possibly not go all in on an all-you-can-eat streaming service, but rather may bundle different services together. ie You can subscribe to HBO Max, Discovery, and CNN as different services, but bundled at a cheaper price. Read: Variety
Current WarnerMedia chief Jason Kilar has his lawyers negotiating an exit for him. Read: NYT
The new name for the company will be announced later this week.
AT&T opted to spin-off WarnerMedia because it didn't have the deep well of money needed to invest in content.
The merger is expected to be finalised in mid-2022.
Here's a handy visual guide to the assets now held by the soon-to-be-merged company:
Here are some of my own thoughts on the planned merger:
Discovery content is such a strange fit alongside the more premium WarnerMedia scripted content. While the Discovery content is fine in a linear environment, it just doesn't play well beyond that. The shows are often repetitive as they build to ad breaks and exit, and a lot of the content is very shallow. It is a drawcard in a linear broadcast environment where viewers can just stumble upon shows, but I just don't feel it translates well to streaming. Also, the deep library of Discovery shows have a pretty limited lifespan (who is going back to watch, on demand, a 10 year-old episode of Guy Fieri visiting a diner that went out of business 18 months ago?). This is a great deal, a liferaft, for Discovery which would have found itself struggling if it didn't evolve its content - and there was nothing from the initial Discovery+ launch announcement that suggested they were doing so in a meaningful way.
The merger announcement made a very specific point to highlight international plans. An international roll-out for Discovery+ was expected. And HBO Max had been rolling it out gradually throughout international territories. The mention so prominently in the release suggested that the company plans to be aggressive.
Jimmy Fallon isn't going anywhere anytime soon - NBC has just signed on ***The Tonight Show ***for another five years. *Read: Indiewire
Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy MGM in a deal worth between $7-10 billion. Read: The Information
Evil is expected to make the move from broadcast TV on CBS to streaming via Paramount+. An announcement is expected on Wednesday. Read: THR
Attack The Block 2 is in the works with Joe Cornish returning as director and John Boyega starring. Read: Deadline
The UK FOX channel is shutting down in the UK with its War of The Worlds series moving to Disney+. Read: Deadline
Sky will be the likely home for the Friends reunion special in the UK. Other international broadcasters are still TBA. Read: Deadline
Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, AKA Langdon, is coming soon to Peacock.
Dr Death is coming soon to Peacock. In Australia, it will stream on Stan.
Sweet Tooth debuts on Netflix June 4.
What's next? Tomorrow.
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