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Opinion
Tara Lachapelle

Blocking WarnerMedia-Discovery Deal Won’t Fix Streaming

Keeping the two companies separate, as Elizabeth Warren demands, will provide no relief for viewers juggling too many subscriptions.

A game plan worth following.

A game plan worth following.

Photographer: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Greater choice is supposed to be better for consumers. So why is it that the abundance of streaming TV apps — Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock and on and on — is costing subscribers so much? 

Streaming has somehow thrown economic gospel on its head in time for an expected wave of industry mergers, presenting President Joe Biden’s energized team of competition enforcers with a quandary. One megadeal already hangs in the balance: AT&T Inc.’s pending $43 billion sale of WarnerMedia to Discovery Inc., a transaction that would unite HBO Max and Discovery+. When people talk about competition in Hollywood now, what they’re really talking about are these streaming apps, as cable TV and movie theaters are becoming ever less relevant.