WarnerMedia Now Fully Owns Anime Streaming Service Crunchyroll

WarnerMedia Now Fully Owns Anime Streaming Service Crunchyroll

WarnerMedia Now Fully Owns Anime Streaming Service Crunchyroll

Today (7th August), Cartoon Network’s ultimate parent company – AT&T has fully acquired Otter Media, the owner of Japanese anime streaming service – Crunchyroll and the multiple entertainment brand aggregator streaming service – VRV. Complete control of Otter Media will be under the responsibility of AT&T’s entertainment division – WarnerMedia. Before the full buyout, The company was a joint-venture between AT&T and The Cherin Group – a media and entertainment investment company. The full acquisition of Otter Media includes its wholly-owned subsidiary Ellation, an online subscription video service provider that owns and operates Crunchyroll and VRV, entertainment company – Rooster Teeth and YouTube multichannel network – Fullscreen. Otter Media also has ownership stakes in global content studio Gunpowder & Sky, as well as Hello Sunshine, a media company founded by Reese Witherspoon.

Since its founding in 2014, Otter Media has established a global audience of more than 93 million unique monthly customers and is on reach to target 75 billion video views this year. The company is also one of the top-ten subscription video on demand providers with more than 2 million subscribers. VRV subscribers have access to Otter Media’s Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth but also rival anime service – Funimation and also Cartoon Hangover – a channel that features original animated series from Frederator Studios, the same company that co-produced Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.

WarnerMedia already has an anime content brand – Toonami, which is an anime programming block that airs on Saturday nights on Adult Swim USA, however no information has been released on how the full acquisition of Crunchyroll would affect the existing programming block. Although, last November, Jason DeMarco, Creative Director for on-air at Adult Swim and Producer and co-creator of Toonami has said the block will continue until at least the year 2021.

http://comicbook.com/anime/2017/11/19/toonami-to-continue-until-2021/

From The WarnerMedia Press Release: AT&T Acquires Full Ownership of Otter Media

AT&T has acquired The Chernin Group’s controlling interest in Otter Media, the joint venture between the two companies. Otter Media, a leading subscription, advertising and content
company, comprises wholly-owned subsidiaries Ellation, an online subscription video service provider, with offerings under the Crunchyroll and VRV brands, as well as a full-service digital media company, Fullscreen, and its Rooster Teeth brand. Otter also has ownership stakes in global content studio Gunpowder & Sky, as well as Hello Sunshine, a media company founded by Reese Witherspoon.

Otter Media will be a part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit and Tony Goncalves, who was appointed Otter CEO earlier this year, will continue to run the company, reporting to WarnerMedia CEO, John Stankey.

“We are thrilled to incorporate the Otter Media brands and talent into WarnerMedia,” said John Stankey, WarnerMedia CEO. “Working with Tony, we look to harness Otter’s expertise in feeding the passion of on-line audiences to augment our portfolio of digital assets and help us further engage, connect and entertain consumers around the globe.”

AT&T and The Chernin Group founded Otter Media in 2014 to invest and develop platforms and properties that capitalized on the growth of direct-to-consumer subscription and advertising models, as well as the rise of new digital media brands.

In the four years since Otter Media’s founding, interest in consuming video online and via mobile devices has only accelerated. In that time, the company has established a global audience of more than 93 million unique monthly consumers and is on pace to deliver over 75 billion video views this year. Additionally, the company is one of the top-ten subscription video on demand (SVOD) providers with more than 2 million paying SVOD subscribers.

“From the outset, Randall Stephenson and John Stankey championed the Otter strategy and vision, and AT&T has been an ideal partner in building the business — smart, creative and supportive,” said Peter Chernin, CEO, The Chernin Group. “With AT&T’s direct-to-consumer relationships, vast data and varied content, I believe they can accelerate Otter’s growth. The combination with WarnerMedia will create a new-era media company, serving customers with every type of content delivered through every possible distribution channel.”

“The Chernin Group’s support and expertise has helped us expand Otter’s capabilities and refine our strategy over the past several years, and today’s news is a testament to our team’s dedication to super-serving passionate audiences across multiple platforms,” said Tony Goncalves, Otter Media CEO. “Otter’s digital-native talent pool understands that today’s viewers want their entertainment mobile, social and community-centric. We plan to harness Otter’s talent and scale to engage and entertain fans around the world on their own terms. And we will continue to be agile and nimble — a hallmark of Otter Media’s culture — so we can deliver the digital, social-first content that our audiences want.”

“Otter is delivering on our mission to build a leading portfolio of direct-to-consumer media brands that have passionate fans and a multi-pronged business model,” said Jesse Jacobs, President, The Chernin Group. “With AT&T’s portfolio in media, distribution and content, combined with Tony’s leadership, we believe full ownership by AT&T will take these businesses to the next level.”

The Otter Media companies have built large networks of talented creators and influencers and have deep libraries of video content. The Otter Media portfolio includes Ellation, a transformative entertainment company and home of industry-leading platforms Crunchyroll and VRV. Crunchyroll is a SVOD service that gives millions of fans access to a vast library of anime content. VRV aggregates and distributes content from multiple over-the-top content providers, including Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth.

Another key part of the Otter Media family, Fullscreen, is a digital media company that empowers talent and brands to build and monetize highly engaged, social-first audiences through best-in-class strategy, creative services and technology. Fullscreen began as a network of creators, social influencers and YouTube stars that is now 4,500 strong. Since its inception, it has diversified to include branded content, traditional advertising and social media marketing.

Rooster Teeth serves up original shorts, series, comedies and animation for a diverse gaming audience through an owned and operated SVOD service and website, as well as by licensing content to third parties.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit was created after the close of the Time Warner acquisition in June 2018. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it did not have a material effect on AT&T’s first-half 2018 results when the majority of the deal was funded. This acquisition does not change the company’s plan to reduce its net-debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA ratio to the 2.5x range by the end of 2019 and to its historical range by the end of 2022.

http://www.warnermediagroup.com/newsroom/press-releases/2018/08/07/att-acquires-full-ownership-of-otter-media

Time Warner Rebrands As WarnerMedia Following AT&T Merger

Warner Media Logo

Time Warner Rebrands As WarnerMedia Following AT&T Merger

Yesterday (15th June) and within hours of AT&T formally merging with Time Warner, AT&T’s newly acquired ex-Time Warner media business unit as renamed itself as “WarnerMedia”, ending the use of the “Time Warner” corporate brand which was originally introduced in 1990 and has been used in various forms since. The new logo has a simple design with a sans-serif font with back and white background variants. The use of the Time Warner brand in recent years has been rather confusing, this is why a new name was needed, especially when Time Warner Cable was spun-off in 2009 (now part of Charter Communications as of 2016) leaving two separate companies with the same name. Also Time Warner spun-off its publishing division – Time Inc. in 2013, so the company had no reason to use The “Time” name either. It’s likely that the company didn’t want to rebrand as the company was up for sale and a buyer would likely change the name anyway.

Following the $85 billion merger, the CEO of AT&T – Randall Stephenson has promised to make sure that WarnerMedia and its sub-divisions (Warner Bros, HBO and Turner) will continue to have the same level of creative freedom as if it was still an independent company, the reason being is that AT&T’s core business is communications and not media, they would rather allow existing management who know the media industry to continue to work for WarnerMedia. AT&T has also promised to invest $21 billion into the WarnerMedia business to help it compete against fast-growing new-media rivals – Netflix and Amazon.

In a statement about WarnerMedia’s continued creative independence, Randall Stephenson said: “We’re big fans of your talent and creativity. And you have my word that you will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what you do best.”

The division of WarnerMedia that owns Cartoon Network, Boomerang and other associated brands – Turner has already seen a major management change, the CEO of Turner – John Martin is stepping down, it’s not known on how much of an impact that AT&T’s acquisition will have on Turner, but they said, very little will change, although people are concerned over job redundancies because of cost efficiency reasons and there will be some redundancies at the corporate functions level. Turner President – David Levy, Turner International President – Gerhard Zeiler and CNN Worldwide President – Jeff Zucker will be running the company at least in the interim following John Martin’s departure. All three will report to WarnerMedia’s new CEO – John Stankey, who himself also replaces ex-Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

The Time Warner website has been updated to include the new WarnerMedia logo, as of yet, nothing much has changed.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/t-ceo-says-ready-invest-keep-culture-time-162401452–finance.html

https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/att-time-warner-warnermedia-turner-chief-john-martin-1202848405/

http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/15/media/warnermedia-john-stankey-announcements/index.html

https://nypost.com/2018/06/15/time-warner-will-be-renamed-warner-media-turner-ceo-exits/

AT&T Completes Merger With Cartoon Network’s Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

AT&T Completes Merger With Cartoon Network's Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

AT&T Completes Acquisition Of Cartoon Network’s Ultimate Parent Company Time Warner

Late last night (14th June), AT&T (name originated from American Telephone & Telegraph Company) has completed its merger with Cartoon Network’s ultimate parent company (via Turner) – Time Warner. Under the terms of the merger, AT&T issued 1.185 million shares of common stock and paid $42.5 billion in cash, Time Warner shareholders received 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $53.75 in cash for each Time Warner share. The proposed merger was announced in October 2016, but the merger wasn’t approved until Tuesday this week (12th June) after it was given the greenlight by U.S. senior judge – Richard J. Leon.

AT&T can trace its history all the way back to the Bell Telephone Company, a company founded by the inventor of the telephone, Scottish-Canadian Alexander Graham Bell in 1875, the company grew to become one of the largest landline, mobile telephone and broadband internet service companies in the United States. AT&T has a complex history, with mergers, demergers and remergers, even AT&T spinoff SBC took over original AT&T and re-branded their whole company as AT&T. AT&T has merged with Time Warner because of its television and movie content, they purchased the largest satellite television provider in the United States – DirecTV in 2015 and they wanted a large content division to run alongside its pay-TV and mobile and landline telecommunication divisions. With access to its own movie and TV studios and media library, AT&T can give its own customers free content or at a reduced rate, which is an incentive strategy to retain and gain more customers.

The merger can be seen as an necessity for Time Warner to ensure its survival against cord-cutting (people who unsubscribe from cable and opt for streaming services) which is one of the biggest threats in the media industry, AT&T now has an advantage as it offers the infrastructure (mostly within the United States and some internet backbones worldwide) for people to use these streaming services and even owns a few of these streaming services (including DirecTV Now) and content of its own of which it can bundle with broadband and mobile packages.

With the merger, AT&T now owns one of the largest media companies in the world which includes Warner Bros. (Movies, TV Shows and Animation), Turner (U.S. and international cable television broadcaster and production company, known for its live-action, animated and news programming) and also HBO (Home Box Office), known for producing some of the highest quality entertainment on television. Turner and AT&T have some things in common, for example, digital streaming services, Turner has the classic movie streaming service – FilmStruck and also the classic cartoon streaming service – Boomerang (co-owned with Warner Bros.), meanwhile AT&T owns 50% Otter Media who run Japanese anime streaming service – Crunchyroll and the multiple entertainment brand streaming service platform – VRV.

At present, there won’t be any changes at Time Warner (including Cartoon Network’s Turner) except that Time Warner CEO – Jeff Bewkes will be stepping down, with John Stankey now in-charge of what was Time Warner. Jeff Bewkes will continue to serve as a senior business advisor at AT&T for at least the time being. AT&T and Time Warner are two very different businesses, this can be seen as a vertical merger, unlike the proposed horizontal merger with rivals – Disney and 21st Century Fox.

AT&T is yet to give a new name to its new media division, but Time Warner’s Twitter account suggests that its called “Warner Media Group”.

https://twitter.com/WarnerMediaGrp

From The AT&T Press Release: AT&T Completes Acquisition of Time Warner Inc

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc., 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.

“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,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc. “We’re going to bring a fresh approach to how the media and entertainment industry works for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.”

Stephenson said the future of media entertainment is rapidly converging around three elements required to transform how video is distributed, paid for, consumed and created. Today, AT&T brings together:

Premium Content: Broadly distributed, robust premium content portfolio that combines leading movies and shows from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, along with more targeted digital content from Bleacher Report, FilmStruck and AT&T’s investment in Otter Media, among others.

Direct to Consumer Distribution (D2C): AT&T has more than 170 million D2C relationships across its TV, video streaming, mobile and broadband services in the U.S., mobile in Mexico, TV in Latin America, in addition to D2C digital properties such as HBO NOW, Boomerang, FilmStruck and CNN.com.

High-Speed Networks: AT&T‘s leading wireless and fiber network, including investments in new technology such as 5G, will provide the network bandwidth required as customers increase engagement with premium video and emerging 4K and virtual reality content.

Company Structure, Executive Leadership

AT&T Inc. consists of four businesses. This structure allows each business to operate independently and move quickly, while at the same time innovating across AT&T with content, connectivity and advertising. The four business are:

AT&T Communications provides mobile, broadband, video and other communications services to U.S.-based consumers and nearly 3.5 million companies – from the smallest business to nearly all the Fortune 1000 – with highly secure, smart solutions. Revenues from these services totaled more than $150 billion in 2017.

AT&T’s media business consists of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. Together, these businesses had revenues of more than $31 billion in 2017. A new name for this business will be announced later.
AT&T International provides mobile services in Mexico to consumers and businesses, plus pay-TV service across 11 countries in South America and the Caribbean. It had revenues of more than $8 billion in 2017.

AT&T’s advertising and analytics business provides marketers with advanced advertising solutions using valuable customer insights from AT&T’s TV, mobile and broadband services, combined with extensive ad inventory from Turner and AT&T’s pay-TV services. A name for this company will be announced in the future.

Jeff Bewkes, former chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc., has agreed to remain with the company as a senior advisor during a transition period. “Jeff is an outstanding leader and one of the most accomplished CEOs around. He and his team have built a global leader in media and entertainment. And I greatly appreciate his continued counsel,” Stephenson said.

As previously announced, leading the four businesses and reporting to Stephenson will be:

John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications;
John Stankey, CEO of AT&T’s media business;
Lori Lee, CEO of AT&T International and Global Marketing Officer of AT&T Inc.; and,
Brian Lesser, CEO of AT&T’s ad and analytics business.

All of Jeff Bewkes’ direct reports will now report to John Stankey.

Acquisition Financial Details

Under the terms of the merger, Time Warner Inc. shareholders received 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock, in addition to $53.75 in cash, per share of Time Warner Inc. As a result, AT&T issued 1,185M shares of common stock and paid $42.5B in cash. Including net debt from Time Warner, we now have $180.4B in net debt.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a diversified, global leader in telecommunications, media and entertainment, and technology. It consists of four businesses. AT&T’s media business, with its HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. divisions, is a world leader in creating premium content, operates one of the largest TV and film studio, and owns a vast library of entertainment. AT&T Communications has relationships with more than 100 million U.S. consumers across TV, mobile and broadband services. Plus, it serves nearly 3.5 million business customers with high-speed, highly secure connectivity and smart solutions. AT&T International provides pay-TV services across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, and is the fastest growing wireless provider in Mexico, serving consumers and businesses. AT&T ad and analytics provides marketers with innovative, targeted, data-driven advertising solutions around premium video content.

http://about.att.com/story/att_completes_acquisition_of_time_warner_inc.html