WATCH | What would a merger between AT&T and Time Warner do to consumers?
Remember when the high price of cable forced you to bum HBO off your parents? And how HBO Now was a total game changer?
Well, Game of Thrones -- or Harry Potter, pick your poison -- fans have reason to rejoice.
Especially if AT&T's plans to take over Time Warner manage to jump past regulatory hurdles. If the $85 billion bid gets approved, it could mean no longer having to pay top dollar for premium content, which could be amazing -- if you're already with AT&T -- but also a little eerie.
A pretty stringent regulatory review is expected meaning the deal likely won't be completed in full until 2017. The deal means AT&T's millions of subscribers and Time Warner's lineup of properties such as CNN and HBO would unite.
Time Warner also operates popular networks like TBS and TNT, and owns film franchises like Harry Potter and DC Entertainment.
If it goes through, AT&T could use tactics like making it easier to access their content with special price offers as a means to attract new customers.
Or it could expand its Sponsored Data option that allows people to stream mobile video without taking a hit to their data plans, Marketing Dive reports, as a perk for existing ones.
"What it allows us to do is just move faster, with more innovation, better consumer offerings, more different price points, more effective advertising," Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes told CNN.
Kind of like going into battle, the proposed merger could be a huge victory or a total loss.
The deal has already gotten backlash from industry insiders and politicians alike. Critics say the deal would inhibit competition and potentially push up overall prices for consumers.
And, as Fortune notes, FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has been known to be tough on media properties.
Still, the past few years have seen a series of massive media deals like Comcast's NBCUniversal takeover, Verizon's AOL buy-out and AT&T's purchase of DirecTV. People worry all these mergers could lead to a monopoly in the market.
The plan -- which would easily be one of the biggest media industry deals ever -- is freaking some people out because the merger could catapult AT&T to mobile powerhouse status.
"Our customers are consuming more premium content today than they have ever consumed. But, they're consuming it at different places," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNN, adding that they're viewing more and more on mobile.
As mobile consumption surges, media creators and distributors are having to pivot so as to not get left in the 2016 dust.
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