AT&T CEO Says 20-Minute ‘Game of Thrones’ a Good Fit for Mobile

  • Also considering an ad-supported Warner Bros. film offering
  • Phone giant expects $85.4 billion deal to close this year

AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson is already starting to think about how he might tinker with Time Warner Inc.’s vast trove of TV shows and movies after regulators approve his $85.4 billion purchase of the entertainment giant. A shorter version of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for mobile viewing? That’s on the table. 

Sixty-minute episodes of hit cable-TV shows like “Game of Thrones” may not be “the best experience” when viewed on a phone, Stephenson said during an investor presentation Tuesday.

“Should you think about 20-minute episodes?” he said. “Can you begin to curate the content -- let the content geniuses and creative geniuses think about this, but curate the content uniquely for a mobile environment?”

Stephenson said he’s also considering an ad-supported model for some of Warner Bros.’ movies, without disclosing specific proposals.

His remarks are the strongest suggestion yet that AT&T may impose some of its phone-company objectives on the Hollywood culture Time Warner operates in, especially when it comes to delivering content to customers’ mobile devices. Stephenson said earlier this year that CNN is ripe for expansion into social media and mobile, calling the news network “unique.”

AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner, which is being considered by U.S. regulators, is expected to close before the end of the year, Stephenson said.

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