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

Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Edutainment Company Bright Little Labs Makes Deal With Turner International For Equity Investment

Today (7th June), Turner International’s Digital Ventures and Innovation division has announced they have made an equity investment in Bright Little Labs (BLL), a UK based company that specialises, creates and distributes edutainment (educational entertainment) content for kids. The extra funding from Turner in exchange for equity will help with Bright Little Labs’ international expansion as well as the creation and distribution of new educational content, this includes topics covering critical thinking, computer science and computer coding.

The equity deal is also Turner’s Digital Ventures & Innovations’s first investment into the edutainment sector. The education material is also inline with the UK’s national curriculum for coding and is supported by the British Government’s Cabinet Office. BLL uses a cartoon character called Detective Dot to teach kids about coding. The character – Detective Dot is a tech-whizz who is on a dangerous mission from the Children’s Intelligence Agency (CIA). BLL is also a recipient of a EDF Stem Pulse Award (awarded in 2017) and was named ‘Top Coding Toy for Kids’ by UK national newspaper – The Independent in 2017 and by London’s Evening Standard newspaper in 2018.

As part of the agreement, BLL will be able to make use of Turner’s animation, licensing and merchandising portfolio, which includes animated properties from Cartoon Network, and it will also be possible to form collaborations with Turner’s kids channels which include Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Toonami and Cartoonito.

From The Turner International Press Release: Turner International and Bright Little Labs Sign Strategic Equity Investment

– Investment marks Digital Ventures & Innovation group’s first entry into the edutainment space.

– Turner provides funding and kids creative expertise to power Bright Little Labs’ international growth as innovator in the kids coding and life skills space.

Turner International’s Digital Ventures & Innovation (DV&I) group today announces an equity investment in Bright Little Labs (BLL), a UK-based early stage company which creates and distributes edutainment content for kids.

The funding will be used to fuel Bright Little Labs’ international expansion in terms of both creative development and distribution.

The investment will enhance BLL’s current offering by leveraging Turner’s expertise in the kids’ space to develop quality IP which delivers on Bright Little Labs’ vision to engage, entertain and educate kids about critical thinking, computer science and coding.

Bright Little Labs’ existing edutainment IP centres around Detective Dot from the Children’s Intelligence Agency, a hi-tech spy agency which incorporates the official UK coding curriculum and allows kids to learn in a fun and engaging way.

The agreement will also lay the foundation for further leverage across Turner’s wider animation and licensing and merchandising portfolio.

The investment means that Turner becomes Bright Little Labs’ main strategic investor and signals its commitment to developing a presence in edutainment. Christopher Sodergren VP Digital Ventures, DV&I for Turner will take a seat on Bright Little Labs’ board of directors.

“Partnering with relevant start-ups is a core part of our strategy to compete and lead in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape,” said Aksel van der Wal, Executive Vice President, Digital Ventures & Innovation for Turner. “We saw in Bright Little Labs the opportunity to expand a great concept into an international multiplatform D2C offering, in a way that fully embraces and utilises our expertise in kids, speaks to our desire to create new fan-centric experiences and aligns us with a like-minded partner. It also serves as a great platform for our ambitions to do more in the kids D2C space.”

Sophie Deen, CEO, Bright Little Labs, said: “We’re beyond excited to be partnering with Turner in the next phase of our journey. In a world of post-truth, job-automation and internet enabled teddy bears that could be snooping on you, digital literacy and critical thinking are key. It’s imperative that all children, regardless of their background, have access to these 21st century skills and we’ve seen first-hand that a hi-tech spy agency with empowering role models like Detective Dot is a great way to achieve this. We’re working to scale our transmedia platform, reaching kids wherever they are, so we can deliver rich, personalised experiences directly to our users. Not only does Turner share our vision, working with Turner means we can leverage their expertise in creating the very best kids content and reach new audiences globally.”

Patricia Hidalgo, Chief Content Officer EMEA & International Kids Strategy for Turner, said: “Turner shares with Bright Little Labs a passion for engaging kids in a way which is original and immersive. We see multiple opportunities to leverage our kids’ expertise to further develop BLL’s existing business and engage kids in a way that while putting entertainment first also equips them for the skills they need for today’s 21st century world.”

Turner’s kids’ portfolio includes the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Toonami and Cartoonito channels, websites and YouTube channels as well as extensive content production and licensing and merchandising operations.

The investment in BLL follows DV&I’s stake in Copa90 in February 2017. DV&I has also launched gaming service Gloud and movie streaming service FilmStruck internationally since forming just under 18 months ago to focus on D2C opportunities executed through innovation, in-house development or acquisition.

About Digital Ventures & Innovation

Digital Ventures & Innovation (DV&I), is part of Turner International. Turner International operates versions of Turner brands including CNN, TNT and Cartoon Network across the world, whilst also focusing on digital-only brands. DV&I drives innovation, develops new revenue streams and is responsible for managing and growing Turner’s existing multi-platform suite of international products and services on the web, for smart phones, games, apps and OTT. It is responsible for Turner International’s Data strategy and it develops new digital direct-to-consumer businesses and consumer-centric products. These include the recent UK launch of FilmStruck, a new premium movie streaming service expertly curated by film lovers for film lovers, and GLOUD, a cloud-based gaming service available in Latin America. The group is also charged with identifying new opportunities for Turner through technological product innovation and acquisitions. Technology and operations (T&O) for Turner International is also part of DV&I.

About Bright Little Labs

Bright Little Labs is building a kids media giant for the 21st century. They make interactive stories to promote critical thinking, computer science and equality for kids aged 5+. Their flagship story is about Detective Dot, a tech-whizz who is on a dangerous mission from the Children’s Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company provides a lo-fi and accessible route into coding, with kids joining the CIA to complete STEM-focused ‘missions’ on and offline which complement the UK Computing Curriculum. Starting on Kickstarter in 2016, Bright Little Labs was part of the Cabinet Office backed, tech-for-good accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures. They now have users in over 30 countries and are widely recognised for their story-led approach to 21st Century skills (recipient of EDF Stem Pulse Award 2017, named ‘Top Coding Toy for Kids’ by The Independent in 2017 and the Evening Standard in 2018). Their founder and CEO, Sophie Deen, is an active advocate for diversity in kids’ media and in the tech industry. She has been named one of Computer Weekly’s ‘Most influential women in UK IT’ 2017, Barclays/Everywoman ‘Startup Founder of the Year’ 2017, the British Interactive Media Association’s ‘Innovator’ in 2017 and London Tech Week ‘Changemaker’ in 2018 for her work to inspire children into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

http://www.turner.com/pressroom/turner-international-and-bright-little-labs-sign-strategic-equity-investment

Turner USA New Content Distribution President And Content Experiences President

Turner USA New Content Distribution President And Content Experiences President

Turner USA New Content Distribution President And Content Experiences President

Today (26/06/2017), Turner USA has promoted Richard Warren (previously executive vice president of content negotiations & strategy and associate general counsel) to president of Turner Content Distribution, in this role, Warren will now oversee all brand distribution, affiliate marketing, interactive television and business development for Turner USA’s ten entertainment, news and kids networks, this includes Cartoon Network and Boomerang, he will also continue his responsibilities of strategic planning, business operations, and legal and business affairs for Turner Content Distribution.

Mr Warren will be replacing Coleman Breland, who himself has been placed in a new created role as president of content experiences, he will continue his role as president of TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and the FilmStruck streaming service, in his new role, he will be responsible for new content distribution strategies outside of the traditional method of television distribution.

From The Turner USA Press Release: Coleman Breland Takes on Newly Created Role as President, Content Experiences, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and FilmStruck, Turner Promotes Richard Warren to President of Turner Content Distribution (TCD)

Turner has elevated Richard Warren to president of Turner Content Distribution (TCD) it was announced today by David Levy, president of Turner. Warren steps into the position previously held by Coleman Breland, who is taking on a newly created role as president, content experiences while continuing as president of TCM and FilmStruck. Both are based in Atlanta and will report to Levy.

In this expanded role, Warren will now oversee all brand distribution, affiliate marketing, interactive television and business development for Turner’s 10 domestic entertainment, news and kids networks as well as continued oversight of TCD’s strategic planning, business operations, and legal and business affairs.

Previously, Warren served as executive vice president of content negotiations & strategy and associate general counsel, where he led the company’s efforts in structuring and negotiating Turner’s linear and digital content agreements with its distribution partners, as well as oversaw the strategic planning, operations, distribution technology and TCD legal and business affairs teams.

“Rich is a tremendous leader and has played an integral role in the growth and success of Turner’s content distribution division for the past 17 years,” said Levy. “I have tremendous respect for Rich and I’m confident his extensive experience in the distribution space, and his relationships in the industry, as well as his strong and strategic deal-making abilities, will steer Turner to continued growth in the distribution space.”

In his new position, Breland will lead a cross-functional, company-wide initiative to explore new content strategies for business models both inside and outside the traditional TV ecosystem. In this capacity, Breland will work with business leaders across the company to develop a future-forward approach for Turner’s content portfolio that addresses rapidly shifting consumption behaviors, technology advancements, set-top-box evolution and disruption, to continue Turner’s leadership position in the evolving industry. He will remain responsible for oversight of TCM and FilmStruck, including the development of new distribution opportunities, digital brand extensions, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer engagement opportunities for both brands.

“For more than 23 years, Coleman has played a vital role in the growth and success of Turner, leading one of the industry’s most dynamic and creative divisions and, together, they have delivered outstanding results for our partners and company,” said Levy. “There is simply no one better than Coleman to lead this new effort in developing innovative content-driven strategies and initiatives for our company so we can remain agile, keep our competitive edge, and be poised for success in the future.”

https://www.turner.com/pressroom/turner-announces-new-and-expanded-roles-key-senior-distribution-executives