The parent company of Warner Bros. Pictures and WarnerMedia, AT&T has met to approve a deal that will see Warners, HBO, CNN and Discovery join forces.
The acquisition would also bring together two streaming properties, HBO Max and Discovery Plus is a bold move to directly step up competition against Netflix and now, Disney Plus.
The Financial Times reports that back in 2019 the chief executive of AT&T originally discussed a merger with Discovery for their streaming services for $8 a month. (But notably without HBO).
But when Disney Plus went ahead for even less than that include all its properties including Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and the Disney catalogue they scrapped those plans as they could not compete.
However, we then saw HBO Max launch as a result.
The move would create a new media juggernaut as sources reveal AT&T are to spin off these companies into a separate merger, off their books, and it could be worth over $150 billion.
The acquisition makes perfect sense in a means to combat the rise of Disney Plus which also already boasts The History Channel & National Geographic, along with Star for its 20th Century Fox purchases.
Discovery Plus is gaining momentum with series such as Animal Planet and content from The Food Network and TLC and it already boasts 15 million subscribers.
Netflix better watch out… AT&T and Discovery are coming for ya!
If this merger, which is expected to be announced this week, goes ahead it will become not only a serious contender against Disney Plus… but more so, Netflix.
When you consider what else Warners owns, (Harry Potter, DC & Batman, Lego, Matrix to name a few), with these further acquisitions if these all become merged on HBO Max, this really becomes a firing shot.
Such deals which have been rumoured for some time, are most likely the reason we are seeing Netflix aggressively & arguably overpay for franchises of their own.
An example being Knives Out which they purchased the next 2 sequels for over $450m.
What next for Apple TV Plus?
Read more: Disney Looks To Purchase MGM
Elsewhere the news also comes as a blow to Apple TV Plus which evidently is getting more and more insignificant compared to its competitors.
Insiders last year suggested they were looking at purchasing the MGM back catalogue including James Bond but those talks failed, and Apple reportedly baulked at the fee for James Bond.
Even recently Disney has been rumoured to be jumping in ahead of Apple.
Is this a good idea for HBO Max?
Would you be more likely to pay for a subscription?
Let us know in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!