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MA#5Noting that it has access to more and different kinds of data than many other companies, AT&T believes that it is uniquely positioned to leverage its latest acquisition by creating programming that is closely tailored to people’s preferences. It plans to combine and integrate consumer data in new ways, to inform the future innovative offerings that will air on the channels it now owns, including HBO, TBS, and TNT.

The acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T created a massive conglomerate with interests in both television and telecom. By sharing insights and information across these channels, this big firm may be able to outcompete rivals in both markets.

For example, in the television market, the expansion of streaming services such as Netflix and its clear dedication to creating more content has put great pressure on traditional cable companies and network channels. In response, AT&T wants to use its insights into what consumers like—which it gathers from their mobile phone usage or their subscriptions to DirectTV, which the company also owns—to expand its content creation capabilities too. In particular, the company’s chief executive announced plans to increase the budget for HBO’s programming, adding more shows to its already popular line-up to try to recreate the success of Game of Thrones, for example.

Some of those additional resources will come from other channels, such at TNT and TBS. Rather than continuing to create as many shows for those channels, AT&T plans to make them the place to find reruns of older HBO shows, such as Sex and the City. If it can introduce viewers to the quality of shows available from the premium channel, it believes it can convince more of them to pay for it.

In addition, because of its vast reach, AT&T is looking to surpass data-oriented companies such as Google and Facebook and achieve advertising analytics capabilities that make it the first choice for advertisers. If they can rely on AT&T to issue sophisticated analyses, as well as enjoy cross-channel advertising reach that appears in both mobile and televised ads, advertisers might consider that an appealing option.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Can AT&T compete with Netflix? With Google? With Facebook?


Source: Drew FitzGerald and Shalini Ramachandran, “AT&T Boss Writes Script for HBO: More Data, More Money,” The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2018