Paramount+ has a head-start on Peacock and is already at 47 million paid subscribers
, it has been reported that most of Peacock’s subs are the freebies.
As for if any of those companies merging, I have a friend that works at Netflix that gives me all the inside info, the only company right now that wants to do any buying for entertainment is Amazon, they have tons of cash, a great cash to debt ratio, so no issues getting any deal financed, they already bought MGM, part of NFL Media, TNF and is about to toss 2-3 billion for Sunday Ticket.
Amazon's acquisition of MGM might get approved by the feds but I really don't see them being able to buy much else beyond that. Does anyone think that Amazon isn't already too big and powerful? In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if Amazon got broken up in the years to come, as opposition to Big Tech grows on both ends of the political spectrum. If that happened, I would expect Prime Video to simply die, with its content snapped up piecemeal by remaining competitors. I'm not saying I think that *will* happen, but that I think it's plausible. Certainly more plausible than Amazon making any further M&A moves in the media world after buying little MGM.
The Discovery/Warner deal is the exception since Discovery is getting a great deal because AT&T is really hurting right now and needs money, Cash on hand is only $20 Billion while long term debt ( a lot is coming due soon) is a whopper $155 Billion, that is a real bad cash to debt ratio, specially since AT&T’s net income for the twelve months ending September 30, 2021 was $944M, a 91.39% decline year-over-year.
The Warner/Discovery deal makes strategic sense because their content libraries complement each other. But Discovery's CEO Zaslow
flatly stated that there may be further deals in their future:
“We’re not done yet,” Zaslav said when asked about additional deal targets following Discovery’s $43 billion merger with AT&T’s entertainment unit WarnerMedia.
Although the planned merger will create a media behemoth — joining AT&T’s CNN, HBO, and Hollywood studio Warner Bros. with Discovery’s Food Network and TLC — Zaslav says he’ll continue to be on the lookout for other possible targets after the deal closes in about eight months.
There are only so many pieces left on the media chess board
. It's possible that Warner Disco would go after one of the small ones left, which basically boil down to AMC, Lionsgate/Starz, A+E (a joint venture of Disney and Hearst), and the privately-held Crown Media (Hallmark). A smaller-scale deal would be easier to pass anti-trust muster. If not one of those little guys, well, the only players left are Comcast's NBCU (which had been considered a potential merger candidate for Warner in the past), ViacomCBS (which virtually all industry analysts believe will get swallowed whole or broken up), and Sony Pictures (which doesn't look that appealing now that they've signed an output deal with Netflix). Keep in mind that a combo of Warner Bros. Discovery with NBCU (the largest of those three) would still result in a media company significantly smaller than Disney after they were allowed to acquire most of Fox.
At any rate, you can bet there's going to be further consolidation involving one or more of the following companies: Warner Bros. Discovery, ViacomCBS, and NBCUniversal. WBD is already in a decent place with HBO Max, which should only get stronger once Discovery content gets folded in. If you're either ViacomCBS or NBCU, I think you have to be nervous about the other one getting snapped up by WBD, leaving your little Paramount+ or Peacock out in the cold as the last remaining sub-scale general audience non-global streamer. Which might prompt those two to join forces as they've already done in parts of Europe, where they'll launch a joint service called SkyShowtime
that will combine content from both NBCU and ViacomCBS. Why not do the same in the US to better compete with bigger competitors who are far ahead of them?
Hulu is actually gaining subs still, up to 43 million
and even if Disney did merge the two, what do they do with Hulu Live, which just gained more subscribers, they are at a tad above 4 million, so half what Dish Network’s Sat Service has and they have been offering a Live TV Service for about 3 years vs the 20+ years of Dish Network
Disney always wanted a Cable TV service, maybe they want to try it with with Hulu Live, I cannot see why of course, since everything has been moving to a every company has their own paid app service.
Hulu Live just raised their price to $70 but now automatically includes both Disney+ and ESPN+. If Hulu gets absorbed into Disney+ (as the sixth content hub alongside Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Nat Geo), then I see no reason why the live cable TV service wouldn't just get folded into the Disney+ app too. The UI and feature set might change a bit, but it would be easy enough to just have an optional "Live TV" tab on the Disney+ home screen with a live channel grid guide.