Comcast, AT&T square off for international battle | Media Investment | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The recent high-profile acquisitions by Comcast (Sky) and AT&T (Time Warner) may be setting up a global battle over subscribers.

comcast 27 oct 2018According to Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence, “the deals translate into significantly augmented customer bases that can be leveraged as launching pads to introduce ambitious, likely international, streaming products backed by highly valuable content catalogues.”

In a report, the firm pointed out that Comcast's acquisition of Sky adds 22.9 million video subscribers and 6.2 million broadband customers in Europe to the company's nearly 30 million customer relationships in the US. It also expands the company's list of owned networks across the Atlantic, adding to a portfolio of US networks as well as Universal Studios.

AT&T meanwhile has added HBO's direct-to-consumer platform to its more than 38 million video subs in the US and Latin America, along with more than a dozen fully owned channels and the Warner Bros filmed catalogue. Paired with the telco’s previous acquisition of DIRECTV, it shows that legacy players' best shot at success in that market may be an interpolation of a “foot in the door" strategy.

AT&T's and Comcast's track records show the companies regularly taking on ancillary businesses, successfully.

“Recent examples include Comcast's acquisition of programming giant NBCUniversal Media LLC, which among other things resulted in NBC's return to the top of the broadcast ratings, and AT&T's successful entrance into the virtual multichannel market with DIRECTV NOW,” Kagan said.

The report explained, “The conglomerates, aside from the large pools of customer relationships and vast distribution networks discussed above — which include a massive 162 million wireless subscribers in the case of AT&T — can leverage....deep marketing budgets to back the rollout of new products, as well as prized movie libraries and top-notch live linear TV programming that can be packaged into products likely to resonate with streaming aficionados.”