Turmoil in the Media

In a time where a lot of conventional financial wisdom simply does not apply, some major U.S. media companies are bearing the brunt of an unprecedented downturn. It is now being widely reported that AT&T is desperately trying to untether itself from loss-making cable news channel CNN.

Record Debt

Things could not have come at a worse time for AT&T which is already saddled with losses estimated to be as high as $150 billion. The telecommunications giant might be stuck with CNN for now, though, as an uncertain financial cloud hangs over the financial markets in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN was once a world-leading financial news broadcaster and could have broadcast guides to trade cfds, if it was allowed. Instead, in perhaps the most stunning blow, one of its landmarks will soon see the curtains. AT&T has announced the sale of CNN Center itself, the building in Atlanta which is marked by the widely-recognised giant CNN logo sitting outside.

It will be the end of an era that started when Ted Turner began operations there in 1980. The logo and building unfortunately also saw chaos when Black Lives Matter protestors smashed windows and vandalised the structure in May.

Shared Misery

CNN is in good company, though – Disney announced its first annual loss in 40 years this week. Much of the impact has been as a result of the carnage wrought upon its theme parks by the coronavirus lockdowns. The company fired almost 30,000 staff over 2020, compounding what has been an abysmal year.

Some of the blame lies on its over-reliance on the Star Wars movie franchise. The new trilogy, spinoffs, characters and merchandise have proven to possess none of the magic that made the original George Lucas trilogy the classics they are.

The lone bright spot is the company’s launch of the Disney+ app. It was fortuitously launched just when the pandemic began to bite, leading to a sharp increase in home entertainment demand. Whether it can sustain that advantage as more players enter the arena is another question. After 2020, it seems anything is possible.

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