×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Time Warner to Be Led by AT&T Exec John Stankey After Reorg (Report)

DirecTV business to move under new communications division under John Donovan

Time Warner will get a new boss — John Stankey, who currently heads AT&T’s entertainment group — once the telco’s deal for the media conglomerate closes, according to a report.

AT&T expects to close the $85 billion deal for Time Warner, barring potential curveballs from the Trump administration, by the end of 2017.

At that point the telco will restructure into two divisions: a media group including Time Warner led by Stankey; and a communications group encompassing DirecTV, wireless and wireline businesses headed by John Donovan, currently AT&T’s chief strategy officer, Bloomberg reported Friday citing anonymous sources.

AT&T chief exec Randall Stephenson will relinquish the CEO title and become executive chairman, according to Bloomberg. But AT&T said that was incorrect.

Randall Stephenson will remain chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T after we close the Time Warner deal,” an AT&T rep said.

As for the restructuring details in the Bloomberg story, the AT&T rep said, “No decisions on org structure or leadership have been finalized. Randall and Jeff [Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner] are working through that.” A Time Warner rep did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Bewkes, whose contract with Time Warner runs through 2020, has said he will stay on after AT&T’s takeover but it’s unclear how long that might be. When asked about his plans under AT&T ownership, Bewkes in a January interview with Variety said, “I think I’ll be here for quite a while to make this work and bring these innovations to fruition.”

Stankey is currently CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group. That includes DirecTV, which AT&T bought in 2015, along with AT&T’s other consumer entertainment offerings including video and content development, as well as its mobility, broadband internet, and advertising businesses.

The move to “wall off” Time Warner from DirecTV and AT&T’s telecom services with the restructuring could alleviate regulators’ concerns that the communications giant would somehow use HBO or Warner Bros. content in an anticompetitive way, Bloomberg speculated in the report.

Stephenson has publicly said AT&T has absolutely no intention of offering Time Warner content exclusively to the telco’s wireless and broadband subscribers. “You’re not going to take ‘Game of Thrones’ and make it available only to AT&T customers. That’s crazy. That would destroy the value,” he said at an investment conference this spring.

At the same time, Stephenson has outlined what he sees as a huge opportunity to drive up revenue from the mobile distribution of Time Warner’s entertainment assets. That could mean AT&T will look to produce HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. content in different ways.

AT&T has “the ability… to curate Time Warner content uniquely for a mobile environment,” Stephenson said, speaking at J.P. Morgan’s Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in May.

He elaborated: “I’ll cause [HBO CEO Richard] Plepler to panic… [but] think about things like ‘Game of Thrones.’ In a mobile environment, a 60-minute episode might not be the best experience. Maybe you want a 20-minute episode.”

More Biz

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    Gersh Agency Stirs Ire After Canceling Network Meeting for Former Client

    In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client. Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

  • Stranger Things

    Coca-Cola Will Revive New Coke in Alliance With Netflix, 'Stranger Things'

    A rush of TV watchers to streaming video has prompted Coca-Cola to test an interesting pour. Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series “Stranger Things.” The third season of the series, set in 1985, will [...]

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Entertainment Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Entertainment Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    UPDATED with new statement and response filing The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” Attorneys for Darabont and CAA called AMC’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content