This past summer you might remember the very funny portmanteau, “Barbieheimer,” which was used endlessly in the media. (In case you don’t remember, it referred to the two films, Warner Bros. Pictures’s “Barbie” and Universal Pictures’s “Oppenheimer,” which were released at the same time last July.).
Well, we have a new a portnanteau for you, now that the year is coming to an end. It’s “Warnermount” and it refers to the possible merger of two huge providers of media, streaming, and entertainment services: Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount.
According to the story Axios broke this past Wednesday, Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO David Zaslav had a meeting with the CEO of Paramount Global, Bob Bakish, on Tuesday in New York, where they spoke for several hours about the possibility of a merger. Both companies are big–but WBD is bigger: “WBD’s market value was around $29 billion as of Wednesday,” says Axios, “while Paramount’s was just over $10 billion, so any merger would not be of equals.” But such a merger would position the new company to better compete with Netflix and Disney+.
Will this merger help produce better original content or simply raise prices?
Another driver of the deal is that Paramount is under pressure to find a partner or buyer, since it’s currently saddled with a lot of debt. Axios also pointed out that the merger could “trigger further industry consolidation.” Since each company has many entities, the effects of this merger could be felt in a number of industries.
But there would most likely be some synergy in the streaming services, since both companies offer streaming services that offer original programming. For example, WBD’s streaming service is Max Originals and Paramount’s streaming service that offers originals is Paramount+. If the two were combined in just the right way, the resulting streaming service might overtake Apple TV+ and become the dominant streaming services in the industry.
At the moment, though, Apple TV+ still holds on the top spot for streaming services (one out of seven providers that stream original movies), according to Parrot Analytics. But Paramount+’s streaming service is just behind Apple, in the number 2 spot, and Max is in the number 4 spot. The Axios article also stated that, “WBD could use its international distribution footprint to boost Paramount’s franchises, while Paramount’s children’s programming assets could be essential to WBD’s long-term streaming ambitions.” If the merger succeeds, and the stars align, Apple TV+ could face a lot of competition from a new service that combines the best of both Paramount+ and Max.
But what might they call the new service: ParaMax? Or MaxMount? I guess we’ll first have to see if the merger happens.