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>> The media and communications industries are converging. And when it comes down to it, premium content always wins.>> The ink is barely dry on the biggest deal of the year, AT&T's $85 billion proposal to buy Time Warner. And there's already doubt it'll get a thumbs up in Washington.
Reuter's regulatory correspondent David Shepardson says, this level of scrutiny so early in the process is unheard of.>> Well, I think there's a lot of skepticism in part because, in 2011, regulators approved a similar vertical merger of Comcast, NBC Universal. And, according to analysts and public advocacy groups, there's a lot of regret that the conditions attached to that merger were behavioral, which meant, instructed Comcast on how to behave.
And they weren't as enforceable as, say, a structural condition, which would have required divesting certain assets by Comcast.>> Washington is so concerned about the new company being big enough to hurt consumers because the merger would combine the power of Time Warners, HBO, CNN, TNT and Warner Bros.
Movie Studio with AT&T's DIRECTV satellite service, not to mention wireless and broadband internet access.>> A lot of this depends on who the next president picks to run both the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department and the FCC. In this case, the only major license that Time Warner owns is for one television station in Atlanta.
And we talked to AT&T and they said they're considering all the options, that Time Warner could sell or dispose of that station before the transaction. Which would mean the FCC would have potentially no formal role in approving this merger.>> But it's not just regulators that could be a problem.
Lawmakers on both the right and the left are wondering if this kind of tie-up makes sense for consumers and have already announced a congressional hearing for right after the November elections.