AT&T, Discovery join media houses as cord-cutting encroaches

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FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2014 file photo, people pass an AT&T store in New York’s Times Square. AT&T will combine its media operations that include CNN HBO, TNT and TBS in a $43 billion deal with Discovery, the owner of lifestyle networks including the Food Network and HGTV. The deal announced Monday, May 17, 2021, would create a separate media company as households increasingly abandon cable and satellite TV, looking instead at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. telecom giant AT&T Inc. has signed a deal to combine its media business, including CNN, with Discovery Inc., the owner of such lifestyle networks as the Food Network and HGTV.

The transaction would cover AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, which also includes TNT, TBS, HBO as well as the Warner Bros. television and film studio, and would create a separate media company at a time when both companies are under pressure as their audiences are increasingly abandoning cable and satellite TV connections.

They’re relying more on Facebook, TikTok and YouTube as well as streaming services like Netflix.

The deal to give up its media business marks a major retrenchment by AT&T, which fought hard to push a  transaction through in 2018 to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion.

(This story was originally published May 17, 2021)

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