The effect of the AT&T – Time Warner deal runs deeper than a simple buy-out. Journalists are looking at all angles, including how the deal will affect the millennials.
Media companies are under pressure to stay relevant with mobile-addicted millennials and distribution companies are trying to diversify their revenue streams. That’s a key part of the rationale behind AT&T’s proposed $85 billion deal for Time Warner.
“This is a completely defensive move,” said Dan Coates, president and co-founder of Ypulse, a youth-focused consulting firm. “If you’re sitting in Time Warner’s and AT&T’s shoes, content is the driver of the mobile experience. And when it comes to the guys who make content, they can’t just rely on cable companies to distribute their content.”
The largest demographic, representing one third of the U.S. population, millennials watch media differently from older generations. TV still dominates — 88 percent of those born between 1981 and 2000 watch TV, compared to 94 percent of Gen Xers. But they’re also the biggest cohort watching digital video, with nearly 94 percent of millennial internet users watching streaming video, according to eMarketer. AT&T has already gotten a foothold in streaming video services, entering a joint venture with Chernin Group to form millennial-aimed Otter Media in 2014.