Top 19 Media Trends of 2019: Mega Mergers

Has dealmaking fever finally broken in time for the new year?

Media consolidation has been rife in the past two years, as traditional media companies have scaled up in order to protect themselves against the new entrants challenging their business. 

Traditional media has spent $229 billion since March 2018 on just six key mergers as rivals opted to combine their assets to compete in the new media world. With the close of the CBS-Viacom merger, the chance for a future mega deal between two media giants have diminished. 

This sentiment was echoed earlier this week by LionTree CEO Aryeh Bourkoff, a leading dealmaker in the media sector. Speaking in a recent interview, Bourkoff said “The last decade has been characterized by frenetic [mergers & acquisitions] to reach scaled platforms. That mountain has been climbed. Now, we are going to be level-setting into 2020 and over the next decade, where we’ll have a slowdown of that trend.”

Bourkoff’s opinion is that media companies have now reached the size that they need to compete with subscription streaming. This may not be the case. Disney aside, it’s hard not to argue that AT&T, Comcast or ViacomCBS would be better off to compete at scale if they also owned AMC Networks’ scripted shows or MGM’s movie library.

Certainly, major acquisitions are likely over for media. Of the independent media companies left, potentially only Cox Communications, Dish, Roku and Sony Pictures are worth a double-digit billion dollar deal, and none would likely match the value of the mega AT&T and Disney deals. 

It’s also difficult to imagine anyone other than ViacomCBS being allowed by the U.S. Justice Department to be allowed to purchase additional MVPDs, and it’s doubtful ViacomCBS would want to enter that industry. This doesn’t mean consolidation within media is over. The remaining media conglomerates will consider adding smaller studios and available networks. Roku’s connected TV advertising business is an attractive proposition for many. An SVOD service buying a studio to avoid expensive licensing deals isn’t out of the question. What likely is over is the era of the mega media deal.

This is one of a series, 19 Trends That Defined the Media Business in 2019.

More Biz

  • Hong Kong skyline

    Hong Kong Declares Emergency in Coronavirus Response

    Hong Kong’s government has put the territory on the highest state of emergency in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in mainland China. Schools will remain closed until Feb. 17, long after the Chinese New Year holidays, which begin today, should have finished. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Area of China and some 600 [...]

  • Harvey Mason Jr.., Chair of the

    Grammy Board Chief Calls Allegations of Nomination-Rigging ‘Just Not Right’

    Among the many allegations in ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster legal complaint, the one that possibly cuts most to the heart of the institution — and is of most concern to artists and the public — is the allegation that the nominating process is “rigged.” The example in the complaint points to the [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Friend Tells of Annabella Sciorra's Mid-1990s Struggles at Harvey Weinstein Trial

    A longtime friend of Annabella Sciorra testified Friday in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial that the actor turned to cutting herself and exhibited other troubling behavior in the mid-1990s after she was allegedly raped by the disgraced film mogul. The defense questioning of model Kara Young got heated as Judge James Burke sustained repeated objections to [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Judge Doubts WGA Claim That Packaging Fees Are Kickbacks

    A federal judge seemed skeptical on Friday of the Writers Guild of America’s claim that packaging fees amount to a criminal kickback to agents. Judge Andre Birotte heard more than two hours of arguments from attorneys for the guild and three agencies: WME, UTA and CAA. He said he would issue a ruling at a [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Why Aerosmith Is Still Gold for Synchs

    Aerosmith’s star-studded tribute concert as the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year honorees on Friday night (January 24) will cement another important milestone in the historic Boston-founded band’s contributions to the American rock canon. But over the past decade, some of the band’s best-known music has remained part of the cultural conversation through some of [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly Leaves SiriusXM After Two Decades

    In a surprise move, veteran programmer, on-air personality and Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly has left SiriusXM after nearly 20 years with the radio giant, a rep for the company has confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by RAMP. He most recently served as SiriusXM’s VP of Pop Music Programming. “After a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content