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CEO Eyes AT&T as Cross-Promotion Vehicle for Time Warner

12 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Randall Stephenson says AT&T retails stores could be springboards for Warner and HBO content

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has big plans for Time Warner properties Warner Bros., Turner and HBO when the telecom’s $84 billion acquisition of the media company closes, the executive told an investor group.

Speaking Sept. 12 at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York, Stephenson said he hopes to emulate strategic steps taken following AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, which included launching standalone over-the-top video platform DirecTV Now.

The telecom will begin in the fourth quarter beta testing a wireless-centric DirecTV Now platform and marketing it to lower-income households that have opted out of the cable bundle.

Stephenson contends traditional pay-TV has become too expensive for a growing segment of consumers, underscored by claims 20 million households have dropped linear TV.

“We are really excited about this because you suddenly take [out] the customer-acquisition costs of somebody having traditional video service in their home,” he said.

Separately, AT&T announced it would offer HBO for free to “Unlimited Choice” subscribers, beginning Sept. 15. AT&T made HBO available to wireless “Unlimited Plus” subs in April.

Stephenson said that following closure of the Time Warner acquisition, by the first quarter next year he would expect to see increased marketing of Warner Bros. movies and HBO across more than 5,000 AT&T retail stores.

Whether that could also include packaged media remains to be seen.

“You walk into an AT&T store and it is 'Justice League,' it is 'Wonder Woman,' it is season seven of 'Game of Thrones,' you pick it, that’s how we can leverage cross-promotional opportunities to really drive value into this [Time Warner] with our distribution,” he said.


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