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

Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera

Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera

Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera: The Animation Studio That Started It All And Entertained Kids (And Adults) For Six Decades

Today, 60 years ago on 7th July 1957, the creators of Tom and Jerry – William Hanna and Joseph Barbera opened their very own animation studio. The new studio known as Hanna-Barbera (a combination of the founder’s surnames) was groundbreaking as it was one of the few animation studios that specifically made animated TV shows at the time, before Hanna-Barbera, most animation that aired on television were theatrical shorts. Hanna and Barbera were pioneers in the animation industry (and the media industry as a whole) and created cartoons that were both high-quality and affordable for television broadcasters. On 14th December 1957, Hanna-Barbera’s first ever production – The Ruff and Reddy Show aired on NBC in the United States, an animated show about two friends, a cat named Ruff and a dog named Reddy. It only took two months to get a studio running after the closure of the animation unit at Tom and Jerry’s animation studio – MGM and with the help of a director named George Sydney, a friend of Hanna and Barbera, they were able to reach a deal with Screen Gems (a part of Columbia Pictures), the deal laid a solid foundation for the new studio.

The Huckleberry Hound Show was the studio’s first big hit which premiered in 1958, Yogi Bear soon followed with his own show in 1961, also Top Cat debuted in 1961. The most important milestone (pun intended) for Hanna-Barbera was The Flintstones, based on the sitcom – The Honeymooners but in a stone age setting, the show was the studio’s biggest primetime hit and made Fred Flintstone and Hanna-Barbera a household name. Before Fox’s The Simpsons broke the record – The Flintstones was the longest running animated sitcom in the world, and aired between 1960 to 1966, quite an achievement considering this was still the early days of television animation. In 1962, came The Jetsons, which followed a similar formula to The Flintstones but this time in a futuristic setting.

In 1963, Hanna-Barbera Studios moved to their new state-of-the-art studios at 3400 Cahuenga Boulevard West in Hollywood, Los Angeles, after the studio’s opening, the science-fiction adventure show Jonny Quest and The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show soon followed, along with Wacky Races (which has been rebooted by Warner Bros. Animation) and its spinoff series’ The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines in the late 1960’s.

At the start of the 1970’s, Hanna-Barbera controlled 80% of the children’s programming in the United States, by this point it was the biggest animation company in the world, Disney may of ruled the theatrical animation business (and arguably still does), but Hanna-Barbera ruled children’s television, the very form of audiovisual media that kids were most exposed to in their own homes.

In 1970’s the studio was in full-production, with Josie and the Pussycats, Help!… It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!, Hong Kong Phooey, Captain Caveman being produced, but the most influential cartoon that was produced at Hanna-Barbera (and still being produced today with several re-versions and movies) is Scooby-Doo!, created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears in 1969, the series remains to be one of Boomerang’s biggest hits (alongside Tom and Jerry). Scooby-Doo! centres on four teenagers and the eponymous talking Great Dane who go solving spooky supernatural mysteries.

In the 1980’s, the studio started to decline, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom though, aside the odd spinoff and prequel such as The Flintstone Kids and The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, there was one hit that stood out – The Smurfs, an animated show about small blue human-like creatures that live in a forest, the show’s concept wasn’t created by Hanna-Barbera but rather by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo (real name Pierre Culliford).

The studio changed ownership a few times, but it wasn’t until 1991 that will completely change the course of the studio’s history and it’s so important that if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t be writing this blog today – Turner Broadcasting System brought 50% of the studio (as well as the all important archive) with the Apollo Investment Fund, at the time, Turner already owned the MGM catalogue which includes Tom and Jerry and for the first time the studio’s IP’s and Tom and Jerry are united under one company. In 1994, Turner fully owned the studio.

Both, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera carried on at the studio as creative consultants. The studio hired new animators, most notably – Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls), Donovan Cook (2 Stupid Dogs), Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory), David Feiss (Cow and Chicken), Seth MacFarlane (worked on multiple productions as well as his What A Cartoon! animated short – Larry and Steve which was the prototype for his later creation – Family Guy), Van Partible (creator of Johnny Bravo) and Butch Hartman (worked on several shows at Hanna-Barbera, later created The Fairly OddParents for Frederator and Nickelodeon).

Turner Broadcasting System hired Fred Seibert as the president of Hanna-Barbera and to oversee its What A Cartoon! animated short development programme, Seibert later founded Frederator Studios, the co-producer of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. During this time Cartoon Network Studios was only a brand name used by Hanna-Barbera.

People were originally sceptical of Ted Turner’s 24-hour news network CNN (Cable News Network) before it launched, but he proved the critics wrong, and he was about to prove them wrong yet again, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. or TBS for short decided to make use of its newly acquired catalogue of animated shows from Hanna-Barbera and MGM as well as new productions from the new studio, finally in the United States on 1st October 1992, the newest network from TBS – Cartoon Network launched, the world’s first ever 24-hour channel dedicated to nothing but cartoons. Cartoon Network quickly spread internationally with a focus on distribution as opposed to full-localisation, with the Latin American version launching in April 1993, the European launch in September 1993 from TBS’s base in London and the Asian feed launching in 1994.

Luckily, Cartoon Network already had a large library of cartoons to keep the channel going during its formative years while production on new shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Cow and Chicken were on-going. The 1996 merger between TBS and Time Warner was also important, especially as Cartoon Network now has full access to one of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood – Warner Bros. as well as content from Warner’s post-1948 animation library (Turner already owned the pre-1948 library). By 2001, Hanna-Barbera ceased to exist in its own right within the media conglomerate, with Warner Bros. Animation owning the Hanna-Barbera name and archive. Warner Bros. Animation is now responsible for modern remakes of its animated classics such as Be Cool, Scooby-Doo.

Sadly, William Hanna died in 2001, Joseph Barbera remained at Warner Bros. Animation as an executive producer and director until his death in 2006. William Hanna’s and Joseph Barbera’s studio and their legacy continues to this very day, the studio itself was renamed Cartoon Network Studios and continues to produce many of your favourite cartoons. There is so much to write about the history of Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network, so I’m leaving part two for the channel’s 25th Anniversary on 1st October this year. Hanna-Barbera has produced some of the most loved cartoon characters, its influence is still present today and it will carry on well into the future.

http://www.cartoonnetworkstudios.com
http://www.warnerbros.com
http://www.timewarner.com