ViacomCBS and Comcast Could Merge

Welcome to the next chapter of the streaming wars, Chapter III: The Merger Phase.

Over the weekend, Bloomberg followed up on speculation that ViacomCBS could merge with Comcast’s NBCUniversal by reporting that NBCUniversal employees have said the companies would now “like to merge.”

Netflix had an early and dominant entrance into the streaming space, but now that the market is oversaturated with streaming options, competing companies have responded with mergers and acquisitions.

It began in 2019 with Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of the film and TV assets held by 21st Century Fox. Next, Disney used the acquired library to launch Disney+ and bolster Hulu. With that, Disney made a splash with an industry-shifting package that bundled Disney+ with ESPN+ and Hulu.

The Disney bundle is the blueprint. In May, AT&T spun off WarnerMedia and merged it with Discovery Inc. WarnerMedia and Discovery are now positioned to create a bundle, pairing HBO Max and Discovery+ with a forthcoming CNN OTT service.

Media executives and analysts have suggested that Comcast could follow in AT&T’s footsteps by merging NBCUniversal with a competitor, then siphoning it off into an independent company.

A potential NBCUniversal-ViacomCBS merger would pair Peacock with Paramount+, ViacomCBS’s rebranded streaming service. NBCUniversal-ViacomCBS would offer an enticing alternative to Netflix and Disney with Peacock’s WWE rights, Sunday Night Football, The Office, and Paramount+’s CBS NFL games and original content.

However, even if talks between NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS fall through, both companies could still merge elsewhere.

According to Charles Gasparino, Shari Redstone clarified at the Sun Valley Allen & Co. conference that she’s shopping ViacomCBS to all potential buyers, not just Comcast.

Overall, streamers — most of whom cut the cord to save money — feel frustrated with the status quo. There are too many options. Paying for Netflix and Disney’s bundle is fine, but they don’t own the rights to all the content viewers want to see.

Amazon Prime Video will take over exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football in 2022, and Apple is reportedly in discussion to acquire the NFL’s Sunday Ticket for AppleTV+. And while each service has exclusive offerings — who is looking to pay for a fourth and fifth, and sixth service? Not you.

In reality, Peacock and Paramount+ may need to merge.

Ahh, the days of paying for either Dish Network or DirecTV.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

3 Comments

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  1. We’re paying for Prime, cable, CBS+ via my 24/7 Sports subscription, Hulu, and Disney+. Since my cable is via Comcast/Xfinity, we have Peacok and HBOMax included in that subscription.

    I’m not sure how a combo of two services, CBS and Comcast would do.

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