Did The DOJ Just Kill All Future Hope For Mega Media Mergers?

There is no doubt that AT&T needs the Time Warner deal...badly. Their land-based distribution network, which is dependent on old copper telephone lines, is far inferior to their cable competitors which have since installed coaxial or fiber lines that supply far faster internet speeds to data-hungry homes and businesses. 

Of course, just a few years ago, AT&T attempted to 'solve' their copper network problem by ignoring the value of land-based networks altogether and instead buying a satellite TV business, DirecTV, for $67 billion.  Predictably, that decision has been a total disaster as DirecTV has done nothing but shed hundreds of thousands of subscribers ever since...something AT&T management should have been able to predict if they didn't discredit the growing value of streaming services...a necessary oversight for a company with an inferior network.

Now, rather than ignore the value of distribution, AT&T has apparently decided to pursue mergers that allow them to control content...content which the DOJ feels could be held hostage to make their inferior network somewhat more attractive to customers thus stemming the tide of subscriber losses for AT&T.

Of course, as we noted yesterday, an incredulous AT&T vowed that it's not possible for a vertical merger to put customers at a disadvantage, as the DOJ has alleged with their anti-trust lawsuit.  Per Axios:

"Vertical" mergers that combine companies in two different industries (AT&T is considered a telecom company and Time Warner is a content provider) are seen as less of an antitrust threat than "horizontal" mergers that combine two competing companies (such as AT&T's unsuccessful attempt to purchase T-Mobile).


Before joining the administration, DoJ Antitrust chief Makan Delrahim had said he didn't see problems with the proposed merger. He also said at his confirmation hearing that he would not allow political interference in merger reviews.


In a similarly structured deal, Comcast was allowed to buy NBCUniversal in 2011, albeit with conditions designed to prevent Comcast from using its market leverage to hamstring competitors.

That said, AT&T's own distribution plans illustrate precisely how the company might use its newly acquired content to disadvantage other distribution companies and/or their customers.  Using the model below, one could easily envision AT&T offering popular content, like HBO, to their customers at a discount and then hiking up their carriage fees to customers of other cable providers to subsidize their own.


All of which begs the question of whether the DOJ is about to set a precedent that will effectively kill any and all hopes of future mega media deals between distribution companies and content providers...

A number of telecom providers want to deploy their own streaming services with original programming to keep up with the likes of Netflix and Amazon. To do that, many are exploring entertainment acquisitions to keep up in the cutthroat race for content. AT&T's bid for Time Warner was a litmus test for others who are also eyeing deals.


For example, Verizon and Comcast have both expressed interest in 21st Century Fox's entertainment business. This mirrors AT&T's bid, because it would involve the acquisition of studio businesses as well as cable channels.

...and what that precedent might mean for companies like Facebook and Google.

The legal fight may also bring a new focus on the question of media competition and the size of the most powerful players — notably Google and Facebook.


AT&T and Time Warner execs originally pitched the deal as a way to build a stronger rival to the major platforms companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, which are gobbling up a growing share of programming and have drastically altered distribution models.


Stephenson noted that these companies, in addition to Netflix, are also creating original content yet have so far been unchallenged by antitrust cops.


Mark Cuban, who testified in favor of the deal at a congressional hearing last year, tweeted that Facebook and Google will be the big losers of DoJ's suit to block the deal. "Their media advertising, content and distribution dominance will be a defense at trial. That could create bigger issues for them."

Then again, maybe AT&T is right and this will all be exposed as a sham that goes back to Trump's feud with CNN...


CashMcCall IH8OBAMA Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:01 Permalink

Lay off Amazon they are just very competitive. But Google actually controls the portal. You will notice that websites like ours and Zero Hedge do not get wide distribution via Google Search engine. They want to avoid the radial viewpoint. We are a tabloid so our editorial view is prickly. Zero, on the other hand, puts together investigative pieces that are wonderful scoops. But as with ours, our views parallel in that we do not think the present economy is strong. We think it is a product of cheap money and over speculation. That is not a popular view when compared to Goldman the Economic Adviser to big spending, big borrowing Trump. But it is Google that is the filter that determines to a great extent what content you get on a google search. There is a present lawsuit by at least one State's Attorney General at this time. Amazon, by contrast, is competitive. While they make a cut on each sale, it is small merchants generally that work on smaller margins. Plus you can't find a more friendly cloud company. I get a free access to the Amazon cloud and the tools. Try that with the IBM Cloud... good luck. That is also why Amazon is advancing. They welcome the small ingenious user. There are more small ingenious people in their world than there are the stodgy IBM retired in place set. Echo is brilliant. IBM has fallen so far behind their existence is in question. Don't confuse a tough competitor like Amazon with a louse like Google. Google censors what you are allowed to read. 

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

francis_the_wo… CashMcCall Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:20 Permalink

"Amazon, by contrast, is competitive."Before addressing this absurd statement, let me just say I agree with you on Google (and I even appreciate your putting in a semi-subtle plug for whatever site you write for by putting it side by side with ZH).  I'll also say that if they are so good at cloud services, be a cloud service company.  That has nothing to do with their other businesses.Now, as to Amazon being competitive.......deep breath......They were given a massive overfunding advantage by Wall Street through their IPO.  Their whole business model at the time was to lose money on every sale and try to make up for it on volume (it's still funny 20 years later).  Brick and mortar was dead and e-commerce was the future.  Market share was all that mattered, profits be damned.  There's a few problems with this, most importantly, that the main reason the Sherman Anti-trust Act passed in the first place was to keep larger competitors from price gouging everyone else.  Since this was ignored, Amazon, because they were give $billions by Wall Street and sheeple investors, gained that market share and drove just about every book seller out of business (including many Mom and Pop stores across the country). *Ironic note: Last year I was at a local mall and was stunned to see an Amazon retail brick & mortar book store.Some will say that this unsustainable business model will be taken care of by Mr. Market.  Well, that was happening, and I was one of many who made a lot of money shorting this bloated pig. But then snake oil salesman Bezos went to Europe (because nobody in the US would give them a dime) and raised $650 million in "asset backed bonds".  The problem was, the assets backing those bonds were worthless dot.com stocks that Amazon had accepted in lieu of cash from their fellow BS business model customers.  It was fraud, pure and simple, and the third example of where they'd have been shut down if we had honest regulators (#1 was the lies told in the prospectus in the original IPO).So we fast forward a decade or so, and Amazon finally shows some pro-forma (fake) earnings and Wall Street keeps hyping the stock.  Amazon uses that market wealth to acquire more and more businesses, some of these even profitable, and proceeds to use their distribution and tax advantages (thanks Congress) to drive more competitors out of business and gain market share wherever they go.  This is not smart, it is abusive bullying of any small business that got in their way.Further addressing your claim of what a wonderful service these smart guys provide, let's look at their acquisition of Whole Foods.  The entire purpose was to grow Amazon Prime, which still has a crappy and very unhealthy food distribution service.  What really ought to alarm anyone who cares about free and fair markets is that they are reversing WF's practice of giving shelf space and table displays to smaller and newer producers.  Instead, Whole Foods will now limit their suppliers to the big mega-producers.  This will kill many organic farms and favors big agro.  It also limits consumer choice which is reason #1 that acquisition should have been blocked.There's more, but let's address your assertion that it helps the small merchants by providing a market place.  It should go without needing to be stated that if there is a market for these small merchants, one will arise.  It does not have to be Amazon.  In fact, Amazon has acquired several companies that were providing exactly these services at a lower cost.Then there's the small problem with Amazon compiling consumer purchasing data on pretty much everyone and then selling that to......the bigger merchants, who get preferred placement on Amazon searches.  This is wrong on so many levels it would take a novel to describe.  The most important thing to note, though, is that the money AMZN makes from selling YOUR data, is the single reason they show any profit at all (and they were losing $billions as recently as 2014).And, after Bezos has spent so much of his ill-gotten wealth greasing politicians to make sure regulators never examine unfair business practices nor the internet tax advantages, he has the gall to buy the Washington Compost, which becomes the pillar of fake journalism we've come to know it as.So no, I'm not going to lay off Amazon.  It's in the top 5 of my companies that must be boycotted (Google is too) and it will be until it is broken up into pieces.PS.  Do you really want all of your information on the Cloud of a company that makes it's living selling personal information and is in bed with the CIA?Rant over, thanks for listening. 

In reply to by CashMcCall

William Dorritt IH8OBAMA Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:23 Permalink

Item #1Amazon Alexa and other traffic rating companies control advertising and listing on the internet. The ratings companies for the internet must be complely independent like the ratings agencies on Wall Street.Yes they proved they are scum bags too during the sub prime disaster, but still not wholy owned by Goldman etc.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Robert Trip Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:36 Permalink

The thing that bothers me is why Bezos, the world's richest man, is allowed to run amok in our Nation scooping of Grocery stores, a newspaper, driving retailers out of business....?This fucker must be stopped.

Honest Sam Robert Trip Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:08 Permalink

When hunnerts of cities in the U.S are seeking to be THE ONE for the new HQ, stumbling and bumbling their way, tripping all over their tongues hanging out for the 5 Billion dollar injection into their local economies, and hunnerts of new jobs, businesses, and other expansion, you are not going to get a lotta peeps seconding your advice. Best just buy the stock at 1100 and wait for a few splits, and run it back up to 1100 so you can retire to some pristine enclave, surrounded by a bevy of sub tropical beauties who really know how to treat a guy.  Selfies, included. 

In reply to by Robert Trip

CashMcCall Robert Trip Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:10 Permalink

Last I looked... the largest retailers had ample chance to do exactly what Amazon did and many years and even more money to do so. Sears for example went online. Walmart is online. Sears is not doing well but Walmart is doing fine. I hope Amazon buys a car dealership so I can order a new car to my liking and have it delivered to my driveway. Amazon is creative and innovative. Capitalism is not the Special Olympics of Commerce. It is a war of the lowest cost producer for the highest quality products. And what doesn't Bezos's personal wealth have to do with your fallacy arguments?

In reply to by Robert Trip

francis_the_wo… CashMcCall Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:35 Permalink

"And what doesn't Bezos's personal wealth have to do with your fallacy arguments?"If that ill-gotten wealth isn't used to circumvent the rules that everyone else has to play by, nothing.  However, that's not the case here.Your argument of others didn't cheat the system as effectively as AMZN has done tells us exactly where your ethics lie.  Do the ends justify the means?

In reply to by CashMcCall

esum YUNOSELL Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:50 Permalink

major felonies and fraud and murder staring them in the face and they fuck with T.... MUELLER THE COHORT OF COMEY THE CRIMINAL CLOWN COSTING TAXPAYERS $40000/DAY TO JERK OFF Sessions is a useless piece of deep swamp shit and Trump has to remove the gnome who spends his day test driving his MY PILLOW... uranium onebenghai seth richclintoon foundationclintoon murders comey crimesmueller crimesPLENTY OF SERIOUS SHIT TO DEAL WITH get a real AG in place and LOCKEMUP  

In reply to by YUNOSELL

CashMcCall esum Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

Hate to rain on this angry diatribe but it was Rod Rosenstein, Trump's Acting Attorney General that appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel. Trump has the power to Fire Mueller. Of course, if he does, he will go the way of Nixon firing Archie Cox. BTW, Trump also appointed Sessions. Your apple to oranges arguments simply doesn't apply. Mueller was appointed to look into Russian involvement in the Trump Administration.  You can complain if you want but it was Obama and the Congress that set sanctions against doing business with Russia. Thus, if anyone was doing business with Russia, that would be treated as a violation of Federal law. The Grand Jury has indicted thee to date with more to come.  Let me also be so bold as to suggest that it was Trump who decried Sanctions while running for election and was the first to apply more sanctions to Russia and North Korea. Live by the sanctions die by them. Sanctions are an Obama community organizer idea. Most think Sanctions are unenforceable and don't work. But as Tillerson and now McMaster have noted... Trump ain't too bright so he has moved off in the direction of Obama policies. One final note... It was Trump that gave the Clintons a pass on future prosecutions apparently feeling very magnanimous after the election.   

In reply to by esum

francis_the_wo… CashMcCall Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:41 Permalink

"Let me also be so bold as to suggest that it was Trump who decried Sanctions while running for election and was the first to apply more sanctions to Russia and North Korea."And you'd be both misleading and incorrect.  Those sanctions were passed by Congress, not Trump, and done so with enough bilateral support that a veto was moot.  The same Congress which has chosen to, collectively, sanction the entire "Russian hacked the election" meme without anything remotely resembling the type of definitive proof any discerning critical thinker would ask for prior to sticking it to a nuclear power.

In reply to by CashMcCall

CashMcCall Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:45 Permalink

The DOJ is on a Trump hurt feelings goose chase. MAKAN is green, untested and not a very good lawyer. Att should take it to court. Actually, the DOJ should not be involved in "speculating" about anti-trust. They should wait until an occurrence actually happens. The case is essentially nonjusticiable. Regardless if ATT were to settle by selling off Direct TV, they could spin it to the shareholders of ATT and ATT stock would soar. Direct TV is less important than ATT's new Android TV box. Direct was bought originally to give ATT an alternative to Cable TV. At this stage of the technology and the fact that ATT is never an innovator, Direct TV might be better on its own. I think Direct TV was a blunder. Aside from Rural TV it doesn't offer much other than an alternative to Cable where they deploy ADSL. With higher speeds and Android Box, Att has the TV side covered in a superior way to Cable. ATT will not lose even if they settle. If they spin it to the shares as a special dividend, then ATT stock will get a life. The Creative blood of Time Warner will be most useful to improving ATT's dead animal culture.  

CaptainObvious Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:58 Permalink

Didn't congress already break these bitches up once, back when they called themselves "Bell Telephone"?  Jeez, how many times do we have to smack their hands away from our knees?I'm fortunate in that my town caters to an insignicant little minor cable company.  Comcast, Charter, and TimeWarner can't get a foot in the door here, for which I'm devoutly grateful.  Yeah, my cable service still sucks donkey balls, but at least I'm not paying through the nose for it like the unfortunates who have to deal with Comcast et al.

HillaryOdor CaptainObvious Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:14 Permalink

The state has done so much harm over the years, first making Bell a monopoly with the idiotic patent system, then unmaking them a monopoly and in the process causing the worst operating system ever made, Windows, to become the dominant PC OS.  But this is what voters want, to be ruled over forever and have the state dictate what choices they are allowed to have. Land of the free.

In reply to by CaptainObvious

CaptainObvious HillaryOdor Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:19 Permalink

+100  We've come full circle.  Way back when Bell Telephone was a monopoly, you had to rent a phone from them.  As soon as they were broken up, there was an explosion of inexpensive telephones for sale in every corner market.  Now we have to rent our cable boxes from the cable company.  Fortunately, streaming is now a thing, so people are cutting the cord in droves.  But how long until AT&T corners the streaming market and makes us rent our computers?  They better hurry, because Microsoft is already making us rent their shitty security-nightmare software...

In reply to by HillaryOdor

Honest Sam Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:00 Permalink

Any thing that stops any further consolidation of Huge companies is a net benefit to everyone, BECAUSE the 1% stand to gain in these amalgmations and unholy alliances geared to One World Order. I don't really care if the Department of Laws breaks some of them to stop ALL megamergers.  Too bad it didn't intervene when the likes of Boesky, Milken and the other thieves sought to eliminate competition, and tens of millions of jobs, while burdening survival companies with mountains of Junk bond debt. All to enrich a precious few at the cost tens of millions of lives. This was yet another Secular Jewish assault and battery. 

hanekhw Tue, 11/21/2017 - 12:08 Permalink

Well, let's start with the basic 'there is no justice' in America and proceed to the political reality that you don't piss off someone who can control a major aspect of your business and then threaten to sue them because they're exercising their legal authority......for a valid reason. I don't give a rats ass who's right let's just look at the reality of the situation.

William Dorritt Tue, 11/21/2017 - 13:29 Permalink

Big Brother, we are here.In the past 40 years, we have gone from thousands of media companies in the USA, to 5 with an 90% share. Less than a dozen Billionaire Oligarchs own controlling interests in 90% of all Media of any kind, they use to push their point of view, typically Globalist NeoCon Progressive. NYT WaPo and others are money loser vanity blogs for their owners. ................................ THE MEDIA OLIGOPOLY .............................. COMCAST...NEWSCORP....DISNEY...VIACOM...TIME WARNER...CBS ............................ "THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE" ........................... The Oligarchs are using their Oligopoly to coordinate an assault against their competition, this is Anti-Competitive behavior typical of Oligopolies and Monopolies, they must be prosecuted and broken up to establish a competitive-market for Information. NYT WaPo and others are money loser vanity blogs for their owners. + 90% of all US Media of all kinds is owned by 6 (5) Companies …........forming an Illegal Oligopoly that the Feds allow to exist. + 232 Media Execs Control the Oligopoly with 277 Million TV Viewers + Oligopoly Revenue 2010 = $276 Billion Dollars + Oligopoly 80% of USA Radio Stations have the same "Playlist" + Oligopoly Controls 70% of Cable Programming + Oligopoly Controls 66% of Movie Revenue aka ticket sales Source: Business Insider Info-Graphic Note: Redstone has controlling interest in 2 so it's really only 5 Companies The Washington Post – showed that news coverage of Trump after the primaries was 77 percent negative and 23 percent positive. http://www.infowars.com/study-77-percent-of-trumps-general-election-new… Media Political Donations To Democrats http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/media-political-donations-demo… 430 journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors 96% Donations to Hilary https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/10/17/20330/journalists-shower-hillary-clinton-campaign-cash http://hiddenamericans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screenshot-2746-1024x645.png http://hiddenamericans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Screenshot-2746-1024x645 Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/28/obama-democrats-got-88-percent-of-200… 22 million invalid voter registrations on the books http://thefederalist.com/2016/10/13/voter-fraud-real-heres-proof/ Bill Clinton allows Cross Ownership of Telecom Companies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996    MEDIA COMPANY PROFILES APPLE = $233B, APPLE TV, I-TUNES STORE, Apple Energy solar AT&T = $147B Direct TV, Wireless, Cable, Land Lines AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the world by revenue. 17th-largest mobile telecom operator in the world, with 130.4 million mobile customers. AT&T Inc. began its existence as Southwestern Bell Corporation, one of seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOC's) ALPHABET-GOOGLE = $75B, GOOGLE, YouTube, News and Information, + Controls Search Results + Google = 1 Billion search results per day, controls who is seen. + Jan 2008 til Oct 2015 Google Execs visited White House more than once a Week + Jan 2008 til April 2016, 260 people moved between WH and Google employment + Chairman: Eric Schmidt Eric Schmidt, is working directly with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to a memo contained within an email released by WikiLeaks. “chairman John Podesta disclosed by WikiLeaks, an adviser wrote a memo to Clinton in 2014 that said "working relationships with Google, Facebook, Apple, and other technology companies were important to us in 2012 and should be even more important to you in 2016, given their still-ascendent positions in the culture." Schmidt has provided funding to a tech startup called The Groundwork. Michael Slaby, the former chief integration and innovation officer for the Obama campaign, developed The Groundwork through a company he co-founded called Timshel. Slaby has been tight-lipped about details of its partnership with the Clinton campaign. The group has been paid nearly $600,000 from Hillary for America since its inception. http://freebeacon.com/politics/memo-googles-eric-schmidt-working-direct… Sources: The Intercept, Daily Caller 11/14/2016, Wiki On Jan. 25, 2007, Recode.com reported that Google, since declaring the policy against “fake news,” has banned 200 publishers from using its AdSense network, an ad placement service that automatically places text and display ads on participating sites based on audience characteristics. Recode further reported Google declined to provide a listing of the banned sites. http://www.infowars.com/leaked-docs-brock-conspires-with-facebook-google-to-shut-down-conservative-media/ GOOGLE HAS POWER TO CONTROL ELECTIONS Google has power to ‘control elections’, sway 10 million undecided voters to Hillary ” … we established through some very careful experiments that by favoring one candidate in search rankings Google can shift a lot of votes. More than 20 percent of undecided voters overall, and in some demographic groups up to 80 percent of undecided voters,” Epstein says. Source: American Mirror November 1, 2016 By Kyle Olson http://www.theamericanmirror.com/google-power-control-elections-sway-10-million-undecided-voters-hillary/#more-20901 Under Schmidt's leadership, Google underwent a period of major growth and expansion, which included its initial public offering (IPO) on August 20, 2004. However, he always acted in consultation with Page and Brin when he embarked on initiatives such as the hiring of an executive team and the creation of a sales force management system. Furthermore, Page remained the boss at Google in the eyes of the employees, as he gave final approval on all new hires and it was Page who provided the signature for the IPO, the latter making him a billionaire at the age of thirty.[8] Wiki FACEBOOK = $20B, FACEBOOK, News + Controls perception of current events + 1.65 billion monthly active users + Supports more H1B Visas and Immigration + Controlling Interest Mark Zuckerberg + Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz $35MM to DNC + Facebook supports Censorship in Compliance with CHICOM standards http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2016/12/16/facebook-fact-checker-politifact-funded-by-clinton-foundation-donor/ http://www.infowars.com/facebook-announces-chinese-style-censorship-in-us/ http://www.infowars.com/facebook-created-a-censorship-tool-for-china/ http://www.infowars.com/incredible-facebook-announces-chinese-style-net-censorship/ http://www.infowars.com/facebook-to-begin-communist-chinese-style-censorship/ http://www.infowars.com/facebook-brings-chinese-style-censorship-to-usa/ http://www.infowars.com/censorship-summit-facebook-meets-with-chinas-propaganda-chief/ http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2016/03/21/mark-zuckerberg-meets-with-chinas-propaganda-czar/ http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/16/snopes-facebooks-new-fact-checker-employs-leftists-almost-exclusively/ http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/media/310849-who-will-check-facebooks-fact-checkers http://www.forbes.com/sites/xiangwang/2016/11/24/doing-business-the-chinese-way-facebook-develops-a-censorship-tool/#5ea507092caf FACEBOOK CAN SHIFT 600,000 VOTES TO HILARY ON ELECTION DAY “Well, we know now that Facebook has the power to shift about 600,000 votes to Hillary Clinton on Election Day with no one knowing this is occurring,” he says. “All they have to do is send out ‘Go out and vote’ reminders to Hillary Clinton’s supporters, but not to Trump’s supporters. That would cause a lot of people to vote who would otherwise stay home.” Source: American Mirror November 1, 2016, By Kyle Olson http://www.theamericanmirror.com/google-power-control-elections-sway-10-million-undecided-voters-hillary/#more-20901 WIKIPEDIA = WIKIPEDIA Open Encyclopedia + 7th Most visited site in the world. + Controls perception of history and facts TWITTER = $2.2B, TWITTER, News and Information + 100 million users, + Saudi owns 5%   

smoke em if yo… Tue, 11/21/2017 - 14:19 Permalink

Who needs another merger? 6 companies control comfortably over 90% of the media, Those companies all have agendas and very little to do with reporting the truth .... as Mark Twain said ' if you don't read a newspaper you are ill-informed and if you do read a newspaper you are misinformed...... in that regard not much as changed in all these years.

True Blue Tue, 11/21/2017 - 16:53 Permalink

Backup and full stop.This article has a major 'fact' issue, to wit: (AT&T is considered a telecom company and Time Warner is a content provider)Time Warner still owns and operates Roadrunner, which still qualifies it as *guess what* -a telecom company.ATT already screwed me once with buying Bellsouth (which should have never been allowed considering the precedent of the Bells breakup in the first place) and then screwed me even further with their unholy congresses with Yahoo, and DirecTV...And so it goes.

malek Tue, 11/21/2017 - 17:19 Permalink

>Predictably, that decision has been a total disaster [for AT&T] as DirecTV has done nothing but shed hundreds of thousands of subscribers ever since

I find it to be a stroke of genius by previous DirecTV owners.
Especially with their power horse "NFL Sunday Ticket" starting to flame out a few years earlier...