The Federal Communications Commission might have done a huge favor for AT&T, whose intentions to strike a deal with Time Warner cable is nearing. The deal worth $85.4 billion, when done, would presumably leave other cable TV providers on their own in Atlanta.
Recently, Time Warner sold one of its stations in Atlanta to Meredith Corp to clear licensing terms with FCC and the public review. The direct license transferring between Time Warner and AT&T would now be counted as just an acquisition, and not a merger. FCC conducts public interest review only when licenses transfer directly between TV providers in mergers and acquisition.
It is quite natural the consumer needs regarding entertainment are heard and so do their claims when major mergers and acquisitions happen. The extensive public reviews via FCC depend on the Department of Justice Senate Democrats who holds the key now. When the deal is over, Time Warner channels such as HBO, CNN, and Turner Broadcasting System would be under AT&T license making revisions a formality.
Even among standard cable TV providers, American consumers seek info on subscription, so one would expect relevancy in ads and broadcasts from AT&T cable. Going by the ISP merger with Charter, AT&T might as well adopt the same strategy to cable also once the Time Warner deal is done.
The Trump Intervention
The United States President gave his views on the Time Warner-AT&T deals only during campaigning. In fact, President Trump has an appointed antitrust chief under his jurisdiction to ensure trustworthiness in mergers and acquisitions to American consumers. Then again, those subjects of diplomacy matter relatively to all parties concerned for entertainment sells in America.
It is going to be very interesting to see what would happen next when the proposed deal gets down to its elements. Is the AT&T-Time Warner deal going to invite further competition from cable TV providers? Is Time Warner going to reveal sequential status updates to their present pay TV partners? Would the initial offering of $85.4 billion stay as essentially the same? As of now, we would simply have to wait to get answers to all these questions and many more.