ViacomCBS Merger Caps Hollywood’s ‘Eat or Get Eaten’ Consolidation Era

Consolidation is essentially achieved across the industry. Now the mergers have to work

The long-expected ViacomCBS merger on Tuesday caps a wave of mergers in the entertainment industry that begs the question: Are we done yet?

In the last two years alone, Disney swallowed Fox. AT&T ingested Time Warner. Discovery ate Scripps Network. Comcast, which already owns NBCUniversal, inhaled Sky. And now Viacom has melded with CBS.

The result is a vastly reduced entertainment landscape, even as the technology giants — principally Netflix and Amazon — have entered the arena. Entertainment brands that were dominant for half a century or more are being reduced to divisions of larger consumer brands.

The landscape has shrunk even as the competition for content ramps up with the advent of new streaming services and the bottomless maw that is the Netflix homepage.

In the age of technology, this wave of consolidation felt necessary. In some ways, it has been inevitable. The theatrical business is fully mature and so is traditional advertising. But several people I talked to today said that we may have hit a resting point in what has been constant disruption in the past couple…

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Sharon Waxman

Sharon Waxman, CEO and Editor in Chief, is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, a former Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times and a leading authority on the entertainment business and media. Before the Times, she was a correspondent for eight years for The Washington Post. She started out as a foreign correspondent, covering Europe and the Middle East for a decade. She is the founder and CEO of The Wrap, and the author of two books, including, “Rebels on the Backlot: Six Maverick Directors and How They Conquered the Hollywood Studio System.” She can be reached at sharon@thewrap.com.