Who Owns What? The AOL Time Warner Merger
Time Warner was the worldâ€™s largest media company. AOL was the worldâ€™s largest internet provider. And on January 11, 2001, a year after their merger was announced, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the AOL acquisition of Time Warner. The merger will help the internet grow even more and become the central point for entertainment by â€œspeeding up the development of interactive television and online entertainment as the company funnels Time Warner content onto AOLâ€™s networkâ€ (Davidson, 2001). As AOL Time Warner expands in the near future and companies are combined or new companies are starter, the integrity of journalism could be jeopardized.
The FCC under the conditions aimed at protecting rival instant messaging providers and small internet service providers approved the $100 billion purchase. FCC Chairman William Kennard defended the decision by stating â€œWe could not find (the deal) was in the public interest without conditions designed to protect the open competitive nature of the Internetâ€ (Davidson, 2001).
Through the merger AOL acquired the rights to some of entertainments most familiar names such as Time and People magazines, HBO, and CNN. The deal will bring together Time Warnerâ€™s traditional media properties (magazines, television, music, movies) with AOLâ€™s news media services that have a subscription base of over 20 million and access to many internet services and the world wide web. Steve Case, chairman and CEO of AOL will become the chairman of the merged company, and Gerald Levin, Time Warner Chairman and CEO will be the new companyâ€™s Chief Executive. AOL Time Warner together operates six different businesses, with hundreds of companies in each business (AOL Time Warner, 2001). This deal heralds the logical next step in the morphing of traditional and Internet media.