On Thursday, AT&T received approval to go ahead with its purchase of Time Warner for $85.4 billion
. By the end of the week, the deal was closed giving the nation's second largest wireless carrier ownership of HBO, CNN, TNT, TBS and other cable properties. The deal also brought AT&T the Time Warner movie studio and a library of popular films. As we pointed out when the court ruled against the Justice Department, content is very much in demand by wireless operators. If you're wondering why, let's take a look at what AT&T just announced on Friday.
Starting next week, AT&T will debut a new streaming app that will be free to its unlimited customers named "AT&T Watch TV." Company CEO Randall Stephenson calls it a "very, very skinny bundle" of television programming. The executive said that the app will be focused on entertainment content provided by the Turner cable properties that are now owned by AT&T. Those include TNT, TBS, TCM, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Boomerang and TruTV. There will be no sports programming included. While non-AT&T subscribers can pay $15 a month for the service, most of that programming is already streamed free to subscribers of cable TV providers like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and others.
"There's going to be opportunities to distribute premium video like we never imagined. The tech companies are just demonstrating that to us. So we want to participate in this."-Randall Stephenson, CEO, AT&T
AT&T's unlimited subscribers already can stream HBO for free, and they receive a $15 monthly credit toward the DirecTV Now app, which starts at $35 a month. It should be pointed out that with the deal, Time Warner is now called WarnerMedia based on a leaked internal memo that was the basis of a story in the New York Times.