Showbiz Sandbox 341: AT&T Deal For Time Warner Makes Vertical Integration Trendy Again

October 24, 2016


Last weekend, in a sudden and unexpected deal, telecommunications giant AT&T agreed to buy the media conglomerate Time Warner for $85 billion. As its current offerings become more commoditized AT&T is looking to add content to its portfolio through picking up Time Warner, a company that counts among its assets networks such as HBO and CNN, not to mention Warner Bros. Pictures. However, this marriage is far from certain will surely come under the scrutiny of antitrust regulators.

As awards season gets underway, studios have begun releasing some of their high profile title in hopes of going after Oscar glory. Historically, that meant opening arty films in a limited number of cinemas before going wide after gaining word of mouth. We explain why that’s happening less often these days.

Meanwhile, the Wanda Group is inviting all of Hollywood, and frankly anyone producing film and TV, to its new movie studios in Qingdao, China. They are offering a 40% incentive in hopes of luring productions to the multi-billion dollar facilities, but will anyone take them up on it?

Of course we also cover the week’s top entertainment news including why Bob Dylan might not be interested in commenting on his recent Nobel Prize award, why the “Deadpool” sequel lost its director and Garth Brooks signs an exclusive deal to stream his music on Amazon’s new service.


comScore Announces Official Worldwide Box Office Results for Weekend of October 23, 2016

Nate Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ Could Lose $10M for Fox Searchlight

Seeing the Good and the Bad in Third Quarter Movie Ticket Prices

Brice 3 Pirated Movie Stunt

AT&T Agrees to Buy Time Warner for $85.4 Billion

Swift Opposition to Resurrection of AT&T Giant

Book Filter Entry for Play It Loud

Chuck Berry, 90, Will Release His First New Album in Four Decades ‘Chuck’

Amazon Crashes Apple’s Exclusives Party with Huge Garth Brooks Deal

SAG-AFTRA Videogame Strike Likely Tonight as Union Blasts ‘Freeloader’ Industry for Refusing Residuals

SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike Begins

Bob Dylan’s Silence on Nobel Prize Is Called ‘Impolite and Arrogant’ by Academy Member

Possible Mutiny Brewing at Josh Groban’s ‘Comet’

Bankrupt Shipping Company Causing Woes for Publishers

‘Deadpool’ Director Tim Miller Exits Sequel Over Creative Differences

Russians Seek Answers to Central Moscow GPS Anomaly

‘Tonight Show’ Showrunner Josh Lieb Exits for Overall Deal With Universal Television

Christopher Marlowe Credited as One of Shakespeare’s Co-writers

Wang Jianlin Beckons Hollywood Filmmakers to Massive China Moviemaking Complex

Wanda to Unveil a 40% Rebate to Lure Productions to Chinese Studio

Wanda’s Big Qingdao Studio Pitch: Will Hollywood Take the Bait?


  • mgiltz

    Should the Time Warner AT&T merger happen? Apparently, it depends on whether you fall in line with anti-trust rulings for the past 50 or so years, which say “of course!” Vertical integration is no big deal and actually helps competition. Or if you’re a young turk economist and want to rethink things, you say, “Of course not, the idea that these massive mergers are good for competition is sketchy at best.” I say, it depends on how you frame the question: is this merger clearly going to be a big plus for consumers? Obviously not, since it won’t happen without at least some temporary restrictions. In which case, it shouldn’t happen. Ignore the companies and think about the consumers and it’s really not that close a call.