The nation’s second largest broadband provider is looking to get into the streaming media business. AT&T has partnered with media holding company The Chernin Group to create a company tasked with acquiring, investing in and launching online video services.
As The Verge points out, each company has something unique to bring to the table. AT&T’s role is obvious with more than 110 million wireless subscribers and over 16 million broadband customers. The Chernin Group, meanwhile, will offer up access to Crunchyroll, an on-demand service specializing in anime. They also know a thing or two about developing business models designed to support digital ventures.
The decision comes after a failed attempt to purchase Hulu last year. The streaming service, which was up for sale by 21st Century Fox, NBCUniversal and Walt Disney Co., was pulled from the market after the owners decided to invest an additional $750 million into the service to accelerate growth.
It’s far too early to know how this will all play out. Based on the language in the press release, I’d expect the end game to be a service (or services) made up of the acquisition of several smaller outfits. Whether that means the duo will come up with a pure Netflix / Hulu competitor or perhaps an over-the-top cable box with U-verse branding remains to be seen. Either way, the market appears ripe and they want in on the action.