AT&T-Time Warner Analysis: Judge Puts Legal Framework on Forces of Disruption in Media

Variety | 6/12/2018 | Cynthia Littleton
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The 172-page opinion in the AT&T-Time Warner anti-trust case makes it clear that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon did his homework to understand the seismic shifts that have rocked the pay TV marketplace during the past decade.

The trial in D.C. federal court wasn’t just about whether the union of AT&T and Time Warner would be bad for consumers. The proceedings wound up putting a legal framework for examining how traditional media giants are responding to the forces of disruption: the rise of SVOD giants, the Peak TV phenomenon and the steady drumbeat of cord cutting and its impact on the bottom line of TV programmers and distributors alike.

SVODs - Role - Demand - Purchase - MVPD

“It is inescapable that SVODs have played a large role in causing the demand for and continued purchase or traditional MVPD subscriptions to “declin[e] at a rapid pace,” Leon wrote, citing a quote from AT&T chairman-CEO Randall Stephenson. “To ignore those industry trends — trends that are transforming how consumers view video content and blurring the lines between programming, distribution, and web-based competitors — would be to ignore the Supreme Court’s direction to examine this case with an eye toward the ‘structure, history, and probable future’ of this fast-changing industry. I, of course, cannot do that!”

Leon’s opinion repeatedly cites the challenges facing traditional media conglomerates amid the rise of Netflix, Amazon, Facebook, and other hugely capitalized digital behemoths. The judge offers lengthy discourse on how the digital heavyweights are advantaged by the Big Data they cull from the viewing activity on their platforms. He also discusses the unique structure of the SVOD giants in serving as both a distributor with direct customer relationships and a programming service offering exclusive original series. Even in a vertically integrated media conglomerate such as Comcast, the cable service and programming operations are usually separated by distinct...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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I find it extremely funny when people keep voting and expecting the government to change!
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