John Stankey, the Loyola Marymount and UCLA Alum on Track to Take Over Time Warner

UCLA Alum John Stankey

AT&T is awaiting the federal go-ahead for its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. The acquisition is expected to go through, and if it does, John Stankey, head of AT&T’s entertainment group, will oversee Warner Bros., CNN, and HBO. Though Stankey has no entertainment background, he is confident in his vision for the future these entertainment avenues.

“Over time, investment in content is going to increase,” Stankey said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “My goal would be to find a lane to ramp up investment in content at a higher level than today and to benefit from some of the efficiencies, some of the synergies.”

Stankey received his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University and went on to earn his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. Though Stankey has little knowledge of entertainment, he is committed to educating himself by watching more of the shows that are being produced.

There is widespread apprehension regarding AT&T’s plan for its new assets. Optimists foresee AT&T utilizing its consumer data to develop strategies for standing out amidst competing companies. Others fear that AT&T will try to maintain Time Warner’s customer base through discounts, while trying to squeeze out as much revenue as possible.

When asked about what kind of leader Stankey will be, Peter Chernin, the founder and CEO of the Chernin Group, a one of Hollywood’s largest investment firms, said, “I don’t think you’re going to see John trying to green light movies and looking at rough cuts. You’ll see him trying to unlock the opportunity.”

Stankey has indicated that customers may have more original content to look forward to, and that AT&T may use its data to create more tailored advertisements. “We can’t continue to jam advertising down consumers’ throats in 30-minute block,” Stankey said.

The acquisition was announced in October 2016, and, if the buy goes according to plan, AT&T will have officially gained control of Time Warner by the end of 2017.


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