Newspaper mergers are likely to be subject to both a competition and public interest process, representing a hurdle for potential buyers.
Warner Bros. Discovery is grappling with declining legacy cable revenues and its $48 billion debt burden. DTC losses have attenuated but de-leveraging will be trickier post-2023 as many of the easier cost-savings have been achieved.
The US launch of its DTC offering, Max, attempts to dovetail IP from across Warner Bros., alongside Discovery's food, lifestyle and documentary programming, and soon, CNN. Adding sports may prove more challenging.
In Europe, WBD’s rational strategy would be to maintain a mixed distribution strategy, agreeing exclusive deals for its DTC platform with incumbent aggregators such as Sky.
The US and UK have highly dissimilar approaches to regulating political advertising during elections, with far less spent in the UK (46p per registered voter compared to $51 in the US per year), although spending on online political advertising is rising fast in both.
The UK caps electoral spending and bans political advertising on broadcast channels, newspapers are partisan and regulation of online is very light touch.
With the UK’s next general election on the horizon, it’s vital to level the playing field between the broadcast and online channels, to prevent false and misleading statements by parties, candidates or their supporters from swaying voter intentions, to the detriment of the quality of democracy in the UK.