Michael Wolf: AT&T-Time Warner Deal Is Consumer Friendly

Michael Wolf—founder of Activate and former COO of MTV Networks—appearing on Bloomberg TV Friday, said he thinks the AT&T-Time Warner deal will be approved and should be.

"This deal makes a lot of sense from a consumer perspective," he said. "It's not taking away any real control of voices in the internet or in media."

While there was a lot of tough talk about the merger from the administration—President-elect Donald Trump threatened to block it—Wolf said the administration would be much more open to M&A deals and that it would roll back some of the power of the FCC, which would also make a big difference on the deal—if the FCC even gets an official crack at it.

No matter what, he said, the deal "makes sense" to go forward.

Wolf said he expected under a Trump Administration, broadcasters like Sinclair, which is up against the national ownership limit of 39% of households, would be likely to be able to buy more TV stations.

He also said he thought there would be tech companies buying media companies. "A tax holiday bringing $200 million back to Apple means it is going to be able to buy something like Netflix."

Apple has not been a content buyer to date, but Wolf said it may not have any choice. "One way or the other they are going to have to have access to a streaming service," he said.

Asked whether anyone can compete with Google and Facebook given that they, combined, are getting 75% of all new dollars going into mobile advertising and over half of all internet advertising, Wolf said it is not whether they can, but why hold them back from trying.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.