With 42,000 Layoffs Since 2017, AT&T Plans Thousands More Layoffs At HBO, Time Warner

from the highly-innovative dept

Since 2017, AT&T has received not only a $42 billion tax break courtesy of the Trump administration, but billions more in regulatory favors from the Trump FCC, including the repeal of net neutrality, the erosion of much of the FCC's authority to police natural telecom monopolies, and the elimination of broadband-specific privacy rules. In exchange, AT&T promised thousands of "high paying jobs" and a massive spike in investment. Instead, AT&T fired more than 42,000 employees and trimmed its overall 2020 investment. It's nice work if you can get it.

And AT&T's not done yet. AT&T spent roughly $175 billion DirecTV and Time Warner mergers thinking it could buy its way to streaming video domination. But that's not working out so hot, and AT&T's now doing everything in power to trim its balance sheet. That includes plans to sell DirecTV for a huge loss, and thousands more layoffs across Time Warner, HBO, and other recently acquired properties:

"AT&T's WarnerMedia is restructuring its workforce as it seeks to reduce costs by as much as 20 percent as the coronavirus pandemic drains income from movie tickets, cable subscriptions and television ads, according to people familiar with the matter. The overhaul, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks, would result in thousands of layoffs across Warner Bros. studios and TV channels like HBO, TBS and TNT, the people said.

COVID will provide cover for AT&T, but these layoffs had already been in the works after investor backlash at AT&T's merger mania. COVID will also create cover for the fact that this is all stuff that opponents of the AT&T Time Warner merger repeatedly warned would happen before being promptly ignored by regulators at the FCC and elsewhere. These mindless megadeals always come bearing ample promises about next-level innovation, right before delivering layoffs and higher prices for consumers and competitors alike.

The company's promise that the deal wouldn't result in price hikes for consumers? False. The company's promise the deal wouldn't result in higher prices for competitors needing access to essential AT&T content like HBO? False. AT&T's promise they wouldn't hide Time Warner content behind exclusivity paywalls? False. The idea that the merger would somehow create more jobs at the company? False. Falsehoods that were all taxpayer subsidized and rubber-stamped thanks to regulatory capture.

This being America, you can expect nobody, on absolutely any level of punditry, press, or government, to learn absolutely anything from this experience.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: fcc, jobs, layoffs, mergers, subsidies, tax break
Companies: at&t


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2020 @ 3:05pm

    Re: I thought the gov.

    Isnt there a post about ATT selling at a loss, one of its holdings?

    If only they had linked to one of those stories in the post!

    Oh, wait...


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.