Well, if Yahoo! is going to do it, AT&T might as well jump in the ring too. The company has just announced that yes, it too is going to start producing its own TV shows. But at least they hired somebody who actually makes TV shows to do it.
Namely, AT&T has hired the Chernin Group, which you might remember is the money behind New Girl. And, according to CNET, it’s to be all about the Netflix competition:
The company said on Tuesday that it was partnering with media holding company The Chernin Group to create a joint venture that would acquire, invest in, and launch online video services. The company has been looking to expand the kinds of services it can deliver either through its wireless or wired network as it looks to avoid the fate of becoming a “dumb pipe” that can only make money off of connection fees.
Expect this to mean, short-term, that you’ll see a lot of Asian-influenced programming on your AT&T-connected devices: The Chernin Group owns a fairly large stake in anime streaming service Crunchyroll and has a lot of investment in Asian video services.
As for what this means long-term… it mostly means that AT&T is about to spend a lot of money on a tough business. Especially if you’re producing your own TV shows, you have to know what you’re doing. The Chernin Group is actually a fairly smart choice, as these things go, because they’ve actually had hit movies and TV shows, which furthermore were actually worth watching.
But it’s also fairly bloody in the streaming wars right now. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have been able to make original series work to lesser or greater degrees, but it’s still a nascent market and it’s not clear how you get people to watch these shows or make them profitable. On the other hand, considering what they charge, they probably have enough cash lying around.