Should this deal go through, many people will be fired due to redundancies and restructuring. Various movies and TV shows will inevitably be canceled. There will be lots of shifting around at the corporate level. And crucially, creators will ultimately have fewer places to take a potential project for distribution.
So, why the possible merger? Why would Warner Bros. Discovery go through yet another major merger such as this just a couple of years after WB was upended following a tumultuous deal with AT&T that didn’t pan out? It comes down to forming a larger company that stands a better shot at surviving against titans such as Disney and Netflix (and, to a lesser degree, Apple and Amazon, who are in the tech business but who basically offer movies and TV on the side). As it stands, WBD and Paramount are much smaller than any of those companies. But combined? They become almost too big to fail, even if the resulting merger would leave the new company with a tremendous debt load to service.
The two companies’ streaming services, Paramount+ and Max, are a fraction of the size of Netflix. If the companies merge, they could merge those services into one huge offering. It would also put CBS News and CNN under the same roof, resulting in a potential news media empire. The DC Universe and the “Transformers” franchise would be in the same place. Execs are likely imagining what “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan could do at a place like HBO. It’s not hard to see why this would be attractive to both parties.
For now, it’s too early to say what the resulting company will look like, as this is all very early. That said, if it’s not Warner Bros. Discovery, it feels very much like 2024 will be the year that someone makes a play for Paramount. But David Zaslav has officially thrown his hat in the ring.