E AT&T Chief Wants To Break Up ‘Game Of Thrones’ Into Twenty Minute Episodes

With all sorts of companies from social media to telecom racing to own the mobile content market, AT&T’s (T) Chief Executive Randall Stephenson thinks he has the secret sauce: chopped up episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

That was the commentary out of the executive during the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom conference being held this week. The CEO of one of the nation’s largest wireless telecommunicates companies, one that is in the process of closing on its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner (TWX), thinks watching a sixty minute show, the typical length of “Game of Thrones” simply doesn’t fly in a mobile world. “I’ll cause [HBO CEO Richard] Plepler to panic,” Stephenson said according to media reports of the presentation. “In a mobile environment, a 60-minute episode might not be the best experience. Maybe you want a 20-minute episode.”

With the smartphone market in the U.S. facing saturation the nation’s wireless telecommunications companies are in a race to not only own the conduit to all the digital content but the content itself. While T-Mobile (TMUS) Verizon Communications (VZ) and Sprint (S) have their own plans up their sleeves AT&T has been the most aggressive, namely with its proposed acquisition of Time Warner. The deal was inked late last year and while then candidate Donald Trump vowed to block it, after he won the election he has backed off from the harsh rhetoric and appointed deal-friendly people to key posts at the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Justice Department.  

During the JPMorgan confab Stephenson reportedly said his main focus this year is to close on the deal with Time Warner, which is currently awaiting approval by the Justice Department. The acquisition doesn’t need a nod from the FCC because no airwave licenses are changing hands. The FCC under former President Obama may have blocked the deal but the current heads are much more open to M&A in the telecom market.

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Bruce Powers 4 years ago Member's comment

20 minutes of Games of Thrones isn't enough for me to get my fix!

Alexis Renault 4 years ago Member's comment

I'd end up binging the show just as much, but it'd be annoying to have to watch the intro credits again every 20 minutes!