It took AT&T nearly two years to fight antitrust regulations and get its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner approved. The debt AT&T took on in order to complete the deal made it one of the most indebted companies in the world. Now, two years after the acquisition was completed, the combined company may be stumbling.
A cornerstone of AT&T’s strategy since the acquisition has been the launch of HBO Max, a new streaming service which utilizes Time Warner’s massive bank of IP and content. But there have been a number of obstacles and signs that the service may be missing the mark.
HBO Max has seen slow growth out of the gates, and much of it has been fueled by free subscriptions for AT&T customers. Even then, only 12.7 million out of 28.7 million customers who are eligible for free subscriptions have activated them - signaling a lack of excitement.
To make matters worse, the service has been very difficult for customers to access on their streaming devices. The company only just worked out a deal to get on Amazon Fire TV and still can’t be used on Roku.
If the service can’t pivot soon, it could spell trouble for AT&T’s big bet.