Now that AT&T has closed its acquisition of Time Warner, it’s thought that they are better posed than other telecom giants to take some of Facebook’s and Google’s advertising revenue. AT&T also recently purchased AppNexus to build out its advertising business. Of course, it’s been a long time since companies like Verizon and AT&T were known just as “the phone company.” AT&T owns DirecTV, with the Time Warner acquisition they have CNN and HBO. Verizon purchased AOL and huge chunk of Yahoo!, rebranding it Oath, which includes Huffington Post and the social network Tumblr.
Telecoms have been buying studios and content producers in recent years, as Comcast bought NBCUniversal, Verizon starting and then abandoning GO90 and then AOL and Yahoo!, and now AT&T gobbling up Time Warner’s Warner Bros, HBO, and CNN and the Turner Networks. Since they also operate in many markets as internet service providers and cable operators, they have vast amounts of customer data, which is a huge concern for privacy advocates. It also impacts the Net Neutrality debate, and the ISPs have long thought companies like Google and Facebook were getting a free ride on infrastructure they built and maintain. According to The Verge:
AT&T, in particular, may be well-suited to build profiles of its customers that it can use to sell targeted advertising. If you’re an AT&T cellular customer, the company already has access to real-time location data, mobile browsing activity, and other lucrative personal information. It can cross-reference that data with the information you provide the company when you sign up for its service, along with information it may be able to glean from your viewing habits if you subscribe to DirecTV and information it can purchase from third-party data brokers.
John is a writer with an interest in healthcare and SEO. In his spare time, he enjoys basketball and memes and spending time with his family.