The going hasn't been too easy for AT&T so far, but as per a report which surfaced on Bloomberg today, the telecommunications giant is hoping to make it big in the media space over the long term, a process which got off to a quick start with the acquisition of DIRECTV. As per the report, which is based on information from company insiders, AT&T is tracking at least 40 different media and entertainment enterprises, some of which it may acquire over time to increase its footprint in the media streaming market and alter its business strategy with each acquisition. This piece of news makes it seem as if AT&T is floating on cash and has the required means to make such acquisitions work, but that is absolutely not the case, and as such it will be quite interesting to note how AT&T manages to expand its presence in the media and entertainment genre without significantly impacting its balance sheets.
This doesn't mean that AT&T has taken its eye off the cellular or mobile broadband industries. AT&T has insisted several times of its commitment towards enabling 5G and has in fact, upgraded its investments on new technologies like NFV and SDN to add capacity and is slowly shutting down 2G networks to enhance modernization of its network. At the same time, the company is also showing seriousness towards its long-term goals and as per the latest report, it had made a bid for a premium TV network named Starz which was eventually acquired by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. earlier this year. The ultimate aim of the company is not only to distribute content, but also to own some of the content, cutting programming costs in the process. With only a reported $7.2 billion of cash to play with and as much as $120 billion of debt (as of the end of June), AT&T's progress towards achieving this aim but acquiring production companies could be a prolonged one.
While AT&T trains its eyes on media and entertainment in the future, rival telecommunications giant Verizon is moving towards digital advertising as part of its forward-thinking business model. The yet-to-be-completed acquisition of Yahoo! will be another step forward in this direction and may not be the last as far as Verizon's acquisition of digital advertising firms is concerned. In the long run, it will be interesting to see which of these cellular giants will be able to succeed in their ambitions.