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April 5, 2024

Recent Mergers in the Media Industry

Here’s a short list of recent mergers in the media industry! By: Kritchanon Tan Kian Wei

Every once in a while, a merger happens in the media industry that shocks everyone. Mergers may be necessary at times to keep businesses afloat. But have you ever wondered what mergers have occurred in the media industry in recent years? Read on to find out. 

3. Pure Flix and Great American Media

In May 2023, it was announced that Pure Flix, a Christian media streaming platform owned by Sony, would be merging with Great American Media, a Texas-based media company. The deal’s terms were never revealed, but the merger, which was completed in June 2023, saw the Pure Flix subscription service being rebranded as Great American Pure Flix. The merger came following the success of faith-based TV series like The Chosen and Apple’s Ted Lasso

In a press release from June 2023, Great American Media CEO Bill Abbott explained: “The merger marks a significant milestone for our company, our employees, our business partners and our fans as we take an important step in our mission to become the leader in trusted, faith and family entertainment for a large and under-served market. We are extremely excited that Sony Pictures has chosen to partner with us, and we look forward to combining these two dynamic organizations to accelerate Great American Media’s growth strategy.”

2. Reliance and Disney

More recently in February 2024, a US$8.5 billion merging of media operations in India was announced between The Walt Disney Company and India’s largest conglomerate, Reliance Industries.

This deal came following lots of struggles by Disney to win over the Indian audience, particularly when it comes to the cricket-loving crowd in India. After it lost the rights to stream the Indian Premier League to Reliance, Disney+ Hotstar, which is a different version of Disney+ made for Indian and Southeast Asian audiences, lost 4.6 million subscribers.

The merger is expected to be completed by Q4 2024 or Q1 2025.

1. WarnerMedia and Discovery

Finally, one of the more prominent media industry mergers in recent times would be the 2022 merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, now collectively known as Warner Bros Discovery Inc. The merger took place because AT&T, which owned WarnerMedia, wanted to invest less into entertainment, and more into their telecommunications business. Meanwhile, Discovery wanted to expand their presence in the media industry and was willing to go into debt to merge with WarnerMedia, and thus the deal was struck

Following the US$43 billion merger, lots of changes happened in the industry. The streaming service HBO Max was rebranded to Max, while numerous DC comic book films and TV series like the live-action Batgirl movie starring Leslie Grace, Brendan Fraser and J.K. Simmons that had already wrapped filming, was cancelled.

Subsequently, there were talks for the new Warner Bros. Discovery to merge with Paramount, but as of February 2024, discussions appear to have halted.

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