Here’s who owns everything in Big Media today

The media landscape used to be straightforward: Content companies — studios — made stuff — TV shows and movies — and sold it to pay TV distributors, who sold it to consumers.

Now things are up for grabs: Netflix buys stuff from the studios, but it’s making its own stuff, too, and it’s selling it directly to consumers. That’s one of the reasons older media companies are trying to compete by consolidating. And new distributors like Verizon and AT&T are getting in on the action. AT&T, for instance, just merged with Time Warner.

Meanwhile, giant tech companies like Google, Amazon and Apple that used to be on the sidelines are getting closer and closer to the action.

To help sort this all out, we’ve created a diagram that organizes distributors, content companies and internet video companies by market cap and their main lines of business.

Here’s what the Big Media universe currently looks like.

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New Report Highlights Declining Consumer Trust in Facebook as a News Source

social_news1First off, as has been highlighted by various commentators, surveys like thisare not actual usage data – they’re responses to survey questions, people saying what they think, which can vary from reality. But the latest report on Facebook usage, this time relating to The Social Network as a news source, reinforce a recent Pew Research study which showed that the platform is losing traction, at least in terms of user sentiment.

According to a new report from The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which incorporates the responses of more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about their digital news consumption habits, the use of social media for news is declining, almost entirely driven by people turning away from Facebook.

Read full article here. 


Tinder is tapping into Snapchat so it can bring Emojis to dating.

Snapchat’s new developer platform that allows it to integrate with outside apps like Tinder, Postmates and Patreon, is going live this week.

Now daters on Tinder will be able to flirt with Bitmojis. Postmates will let people share delivery information to friends inside Snapchat.

Snapchat built four “kits” that will open the messaging and media app to outside developers. These types of developer tools are core to companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google, because they help drive innovation around their products and keep audiences in their ecosystems.

“Snap Kit will help Snapchatters tap into the best parts of other apps they love, and help those apps integrate some of Snapchat’s experiences into their products,” says a Snapchat spokeswoman in an e-mail statement.

Snapchat’s platform will let people sign into participating apps using their Snapchat accounts. There’s also a creative component to the platform that will allow developers to build features inside of Snapchat. Postmates is doing so.

Tinder is jumping on Bitmojis, the cartoonish emojis that people customize to look like themselves. So, now Tinder users on Snapchat will be able to message one other with their Bitmojis.

Patreon, the service for fans to contribute money to their favorite creators, built a bridge into Snapchat, so people on its app can share videos to Snapchat. The videos will display a Patreon logo, and they look similar to Snapchat Stories in that they are vertical video shot from mobile devices.

“The whole point of the integration is so a creator doesn’t have to close one app and open another,” says Brent Horowitz, Patreon’s VP of business and corporate development. “It pushes video directly from Patreon to Snapchat.”

The developer platform represents a departure for Snapchat, which has mainly been a cloistered experience since the app was founded in 2011. Users couldn’t share their Snapchat messages or videos outside of the app, and they couldn’t use outside services within Snapchat.

But Snapchat’s private-club atmosphere has slowly opened up as the company recognized the need to appeal to wider audiences, brands and media.

Snapchat is still emphasizing security and privacy, though, and even took a swing at Facebook for the troubles it’s had with its developer program. Facebook, of course, has had to overhaul its developer program this year, since Cambridge Analytica was accused of abusing the platform to influence global elections.

Before 2015, Facebook’s developer program had a data-multiplying loophole that let third-parties sign up users and then access the user’s data and friends’ data, too.

Facebook has since discontinued the access to friend data. Snapchat promised not to engage in any similar data free-for-alls as it tries to maintain its image as a privacy-obsessed service.

“We have never offered a product like an open social graph,” Snapchat says in its e-mail statement. “And we do not share or allow Snapchatters to share their own friend network information with third parties.”

Court approves merger of AT&T and Time Warner

Charter Communications Buys Time Warner Cable In $79 Billion Deal

United States District Court Judge Richard J. Leon has ruled in favor of AT&T in the government’s antitrust suit to block AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner .

That decision matches word on the street over the past few weeks, and delivers a stern rebuke to the Trump administration, which had opposed the deal from its earliest days. The decision was made following the close of markets in New York, and after-hours trading was muted to the decision.

In light of today’s decision, Comcast, which has been eyeing its own content creator takeover of 21st Century Fox, will likely move forward with a bid as early as tomorrow.

In October 2016, AT&T announced its plan to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, and a total of $108 billion with debt. The DOJ moved to block the merger in March, arguing that the merger would reduce competition and hurt consumer choice.

The nuances of this case are important, as the implications of this decision reach far beyond the individual businesses of AT&T and Time Warner to the vast media landscape as a whole.

First off, it’s worth noting that the overall goal of antitrust regulations is to protect the consumer from unfair business practices that may arise from a consolidation of power within a single company. But size isn’t necessarily what’s most important in these types of cases. In fact, sometimes a merger can help competition and consumer choice, as is more often the case with vertical mergers.

A vertical merger is when two companies who provide different or complementary offerings join forces, giving consumers access to a more comprehensive set of services, at a lower price, while still generating profits. That’s not to say that vertical mergers get through regulatory approval free and clear — the FTC has fought 22 vertical mergers since 2000 — but they receive less scrutiny than horizontal mergers.

AT&T-Time Warner is considered a vertical merger, as AT&T is a content distributor and Time Warner is a content creator. But the overall landscape complicates the decision a great deal.

There are only a handful of companies in this space, and they are some of the most powerful companies in the world. AT&T itself is the largest telecom provider in the world, and via DirecTV, it is also the largest multichannel video programming distributor in the U.S. Time Warner, meanwhile, owns channels like TBS and TNT, HBO and Warner Bros., not to mention the assets to live sports and news orgs such as the NBA, MLB, NCAA March Madness and PGA.

The DOJ has argued that this type of consolidation would give the merged AT&T-Time Warner the ability to raise prices, thwarting the competition’s ability to compete by forcing them to raise prices to maintain carriage rights. The government has also argued that the newly rolled back net neutrality rules would no longer protect AT&T from, say, throttling Netflix if it didn’t purchase and distribute Time Warner content.

On the other side, AT&T and Time Warner (big as they may be) face steep competition from the FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google), all of whom have made video a top priority. In fact, CNNMoney reported that AT&T-Time Warner’s counsel Daniel Petrocelli made the argument that traditional media orgs have already been left behind in the digital revolution.

From the report:

Petrocelli told Judge Leon that their estimates show FAANG is worth $3 trillion collectively, while an AT&T-Time Warner entity post-merger would be worth $300 billion. ‘We’re chasing their tail lights,’ Petrocelli said.

It’s also worth noting that President Trump has been publicly opposed to the deal since he was on the campaign trail. Remember, Time Warner owns CNN, which is the object of some of Trump’s most focused hatred. At a campaign rally in 2016, Trump said his administration would not approve the deal, raising concerns over political interference. The government has argued that Trump did not communicate with antitrust officials over the deal and that their choice to fight the merger was not influenced by the White House.

Next year, people will spend more time online than they will watching TV. That’s a first.

It’s finally happening: Next year, people around the world will spend more time online than they do watching TV, according to new data from measurement company Zenith.

In 2019, people are expected to spend an average of 170.6 minutes each day on online activities like watching videos on YouTube, sharing photos on Facebook and shopping on Amazon. They’ll spend slightly less time — 170.3 minutes —watching TV.

The global transition from TV to internet as the main entertainment medium was a long time coming, but it also happened faster than expected. Last year, Zenith predicted that TV would still be more popular in 2019 but has since revised its estimates.

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Read full article here.