The ties between tech and media are getting tighter — just look at their boards


The ties between tech and media keep getting tighter. A federal judge ruled Tuesday telecom giant AT&T could purchase media behemoth Time Warner, potentially paving the way for similar mergers.

But the two sectors were already pretty linked — if only by their boards of directors.

Industry leaders like Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Disney share some of their more notable directors. It’s hard to say whether that sort of overlap would lead to future tech and media deals, but it at least indicates a like-mindedness of the sectors’ top executives.

Disney CEO and media mogul Bob Iger sits on the board at Apple, which has been building out its own content studio.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings — whose radical approach to media has set off a frenzy among traditional players — sits on the board at Facebook. The social media company hosts original shows in its Watch tab and has been expanding its video investment to rival YouTube, according to CNBC sources.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey served on the board at Disney from 2013 until earlier this year. Twitter hasn’t yet delved into original content, but it does curate news videos in its Moments tab. The platform announced changes to the feature Wednesday that could keep users in the app longer.

Google-parent Alphabet shares board member Ann Mather with streaming pioneer Netflix and content producer and distributor MGM. Alphabet-owned YouTube has been steadily wading into original content for a few years.

Amazon board member Judith McGrath is the former CEO of music television network MTV and an advisor to Sony‘s multimedia venture, “Astronauts Wanted.” Amazon offers direct-to-consumer video streaming through Amazon Prime Video and has reportedly committed $5 billion a year to fund the growth of its content library.

That’s all pretty messy. But if tech companies and media companies keep combining, there might just be fewer boards to keep track of.

—CNBC’s William Edwards contributed to this report.

Correction: Jack Dorsey left Disney’s board earlier in 2018.


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