AT&T Merger Will Hurt Diversity of Streaming Fans

STREAMING

Congressional Democrats are raising concerns that the proposed merger of Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia, a $43 billion effort to conquer the world of streaming, could affect diversity efforts in Hollywood and particularly hurt Latinos, who are already deeply underrepresented.

The Associated Press reports the Democrats, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, wrote a letter to the Justice Department on Monday asking it to consider whether the merger will hurt competition and workers and diversity efforts in the entertainment industry.

Castro has long championed diversity in media, which can include everything from Hollywood movies to book publishers to news organizations. Last year, Castro and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus tasked the government’s watchdog agency with investigating Latino representation in media. The Government Accountability Office, which released its findings in September, found Latinos are vastly underrepresented in all aspects of media.

“Part of what’s different about our argument is that we also center around the exclusion of many people of color in these companies as employees and often times in terms of content,” Castro said.

Castro said Discovery in particular has a poor record of hiring Latinos in front of and behind the camera, concerns he expressed to company representatives during a meeting recently.

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In May, Discovery announced it was absorbing WarnerMedia from AT&T, combining giants like HBO, CNN and HGTV, along with Oprah Winfrey’s network.

Experts have questioned whether this will hurt consumers, who may end up spending more money on streaming services in the long run.

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