WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey will seek to allay concerns this week as he holds a series of town hall meetings with AT&T’s new television and film units, now that the long-delayed acquisition of Time Warner has closed and the hard work of integrating the entertainment business within the telecommunications giant’s operations begins.
Following a session today at the newly christened WarnerMedia global headquarters in New York City, Stankey is expected to join HBO CEO Richard Plepler at a noon ET session Tuesday in the HBO Theater in New York. On Wednesday, Stankey will be in Burbank alongside Warner Bros studio chief Kevin Tsujihara, where the studio chief promised a “lively and honest conversation.” Stankey wraps up the town hall sessions at 11 AM ET Friday at a CNN town hall meeting in Atlanta hosted by Anderson Cooper.
“I don’t expect that these sessions will answer all your questions,” Stankey said in a memo last week to WarnerMedia’s staff. “But I hope they will start a dialogue and provide further insight on how the combined company might address industry challenges of consolidation, vertical integration, direct to consumer models, data/advertising innovation and globalization. Spoiler alert — I won’t be offering my views on what content we should be producing next year. I have tremendous respect for the world-class creative talent we have throughout the company.”
Still, there are bound to be questions that more directly affect employees, who have begun thinking about their compensation. Will the Dallas-based descendant of Ma Bell feel as generous about pay packages as the brothers Warner? Will executives be urged to economize and fly coach, like their brethren at Amazon Studios?
Some WarnerMedia employees may have thought AT&T’s might hand out free phones. Instead, they’ll be eligible for a 50% discount on voice, text, and data plans — something Stankey alluded to in last week’s memo.
Kevin Tsujihara sent this memo to Warner Bros staff today:
Last week was truly historic for Warner Bros. On Tuesday, Time Warner’s merger with AT&T was approved by a federal judge; on Thursday, the transaction was completed; and on Friday, WarnerMedia was revealed as the new name of our parent company.
First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for your continued efforts and commitment to excellence throughout this process. It was a long and sometimes confusing road. And, even though we were mid-merger for all of 2017, the Studio had its most successful year ever—and that was thanks to you, our global team.
This deal has confirmed the value of premium content, and we produce the world’s best movies, TV shows and games. By combining Warner Bros., HBO and Turner’s great content with AT&T’s scale, distribution and consumer insights and access, what we make has become even more valuable. While this is truly an evolution of our business, Randall Stephenson and John Stankey have both said the WarnerMedia companies will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what we do best.
I encourage you to join John Stankey and me, either in person or virtually, at our Town Hall on Wednesday. It’ll be a great opportunity for you to hear directly from him and to ask questions. I’m looking forward to lively and honest conversation; I know John is, too. In the meantime, we’ll continue to provide you with the latest information regarding the AT&T transaction and WarnerMedia as it becomes available.
There are exciting opportunities ahead, and there are no other colleagues I’d rather be standing with than all of you. Thank you, again, for everything you do to make Warner Bros. such a special company.