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What The AT&T, DirecTV Deal Means For Consumers

AT&T's $48 billion acquisition of DirecTV is the latest in a series of major media conglomeration deals including Comcast, Time Warner and Sprint.
Posted at 5:21 PM, May 18, 2014

AT&T has finally announced a long-rumored plan to purchase satellite TV provider DirecTV. It's a $50 billion deal that will face scrutiny from regulators before final approval. (Via Flickr / ellibertarioBazza Seaotter)

It's also the latest in a series of major media conglomeration deals. The biggest U.S. cable provider, Comcast, has been waiting since February to get a green light from regulators over its merger with Time Warner Cable. And Sprint's parent company hopes to buy T-Mobile. 

These deals raise a lot of concerns over the creation of new media monopolies which could mean fewer choices and higher prices for consumers. An industry watchdog told the Los Angeles Times"The continued centralization of control over our nation's media and communications industries is nothing more than a recipe for disaster."

But supporters of the deal argue consumers will benefit from more easily packaged TV / Internet bundles with AT&T and DirecTV under one roof. DirecTV boasts roughly 20 million U.S. subscribers. (Via Bloomberg, CNN)

And the two companies hope to win over the current administration and its regulators by touting customer advantages. (Via The White House / Pete Souza)

CNN's Brian Stelter got a look at an internal AT&T / DirecTV presentation that "asserts that the combined company will be able to provide Internet access in areas where it currently doesn't. Blanket access to the Internet has been a priority of the Obama administration."

Ultimately, the success of this AT&T / DirecTV deal might be tied to the fate of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal. If regulators give Comcast the thumbs up, industry analysts say allowing the AT&T acquisition might be the only way to keep the playing field even.