Tuesday, June 12, 2018 a federal judge approves the purchase of Time Warner by AT&T. Two days later AT&T made an announcement making it official. The futures of Warner Bros, DC Comics, and HBO are in question.
AT&T and Time Warner agreed to the deal in October 2016. Government approval of this massive merger took the last year and a half. The companies were accused of creating a monopoly and a federal finally ruled in favor of the merger. This bodes well for a future Disney-Fox or Comcast-Fox merger.
The success of the merger puts a new spin on executives recently leaving Warner Bros and DC this year. Those include DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson and DC Entertainment president and chief creative officer Geoff Johns. Any overlapping jobs will likely be taken over by current AT&T executives.
In their press release AT&T mentioned, “bringing together global media and entertainment leaders Warner Bros., HBO and Turner with AT&T’s leadership in technology and its video, mobile and broadband customer relationships.” And adding, “The content and creative talent at Warner Bros., HBO and Turner are first-rate. Combine all that with AT&T’s strengths in direct-to-consumer distribution, and we offer customers a differentiated, high-quality, mobile-first entertainment experience.”
The higher ups at Warner Bros and DC be looking for new jobs. HBO is a media powerhouse right now, so many of the creative teams are probably fine. Game of Thrones and Westworld bring in lots of viewers.
THE FUTURE OF DC COMICS
DC Comics has been a losing proposition for decades. The major comic book companies thrive from their intellectual properties, not their book sales. Licensing Batman toys and t-shirts brings in the money. The comics help create stories for other media and characters to license.
THE POSSIBLE BAD
How many titles DC continues to put out a month might change with the new owners. New executives might also try “new ideas” that previous ones already tried. Such as exclusive variant covers and gritty character reboots.
THE POSSIBLE GOOD
However, new executives could break down the old system that discriminated against female creators. Truly new ideas might bring new readers to DC and ensure comics’ future as medium.
The CW is the lowest ranked television network, but it is also the youngest. The CW has cultivated a specific audience and is willing to keep lower rated shows that other networks would cancel. AT&T will probably want to grow that. Hopefully it will be with more money and publicity, and not cutting fan favorites. The CW is a joint venture between Time Warner and the CBS Corporation.
Warner Bros’ biggest film franchises are Harry Potter and DC. Neither series are the juggernauts Warner Bros would like them to be. With luck, The Fantastic Beasts series will gain a bigger audience with its sequel. Warner Bros is already looking to shake up the DC film universe. The next Batman movie is rumored to be a standalone film. Whether AT&T steps in immediately or waits and sees is the question.