Not one, but two acquisitions are making headlines today. Both could have an eternal impact on entertainment and technology.
The first, AT&T is expected to acquire Direct TV satellite for $95 a share. That’s about $49 billion. This means the second largest phone conglomerate will merge with the second largest pay TV conglomerate. Economy wise, this is bigger than Comcast’s purchase of Time Warner Cable, worth around 45 billion dollars. The deal combines 20 million Direct TV with nearly 6 million of AT&T U-Verse TV users. But that’s just the beginning. These are two of the most powerful media conglomerates of all time, and this has all kind of potential, good or bad.
The second merger is You Tube and video game streamer Twitch. This deal is worth a billion dollars in cash. Those who aren’t familiar with Twitch, you can watch video games for free from Xbox and PlayStation. Twitch has 45 million regular users. You Tube has billions. The gameplay category is a highly popular category on You Tube. Neither You Tube nor Twitch would comment.
You Tube knows political leaders will challenge this acquisition. I’ve heard little if anything about AT&T being challenged. Best case situation: Direct TV will cause AT$T U-Verse TV to be the next Netflix. This merger will give us the next House of Cards and other great entertainment. Twitch could introduce You Tube subscribers to games and increase that genre. Worst case situation: These mergers can mean more expensive prices, worse service, worst customer service. And you can’t do anything about it. You can’t switch to another company, because either there are no more companies or the other mega-company is just as bad. That’s my concern. Are these acquisitions a good thing or exploitation just waiting to happen?