The merger of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia operations, marrying the likes of HBO and CNN with HGTV and Oprah Winfrey, is another illustration of the head-spinning speed in which streaming has transformed the media world.

The companies are essentially placing a $43 billion bet that they’ll still be in the mix when consumers decide how to spend their entertainment budgets.

The agreement was announced Monday after AT&T CEO John Stankey and his Discovery counterpart, David Zaslav, worked out the details in Zaslav’s Manhattan brownstone over the past two months.

“I think, together, the combination makes us the best media company in the world,” said Zaslav, who will run the new company if approvals are granted, probably sometime next year.

The deal also represents a strategic retreat for AT&T.

The hope for the newly merged company is that, with a wider array of material than either can offer on its own, it can join Netflix, Amazon and Disney in the widely acknowledged top tier of streamers.

Analysts say it also makes it imperative that services below that tier — think Paramount+ or Peacock — find some way to ramp up or risk being left behind.

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