The world of entertainment is all upside down these days. Television is in a weird state of flux, while production companies are finding new and more awful ways to extend their bottom line. This ranges from using AI to replace actors and writers, all the way to shelving films forever just to get it as a tax write-off.
One of the biggest new threats to the everyday consumer is the constant mergers by multi-media companies. It seems good on the surface, but with more mergers come fewer jobs, fewer options for fans to watch, and more of a monopoly over the content you watch. It's not a great thing, and one of the biggest cuprates has been Warner Bros. Discovery, which has been merging and merging and merging with various telecom companies and other content providers for years.
Now, Warner Bros. Discovery is once again looking to merge, this time with Paramount, the home of Star Trek. The merger would see the two companies combine and landmark channels either end or be merged in the process. And all of this is happening because of the streaming wars.
To paraphrase a rival Star-film franchise, streaming was supposed to bring relief to the wallets of consumers, not make things more expensive. And yet, that's exactly what's happened. With each merger comes a consoldation of debt and with more debt comes fewer jobs, less bold content being made, and more of what everyone hates; reality shows.
With Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global holding preliminary conversations about the future of their companies, we can't help but look at how this will affect Star Trek. Paramount Global has already ended three shows this year alone, and the film franchise has been on ice for almost two years at this point. These problems will only persist with yet another merger.
The Viacom and Paramount merger was supposed to fix a lot of things, but all it did was add more financial burden on Paramount's shoulders. Hit shows like Star Trek: Prodigy and iCarly were canceled to save money, all while yet another Yellowstone franchise was created.
Another merger will only further exacerbate the need for every property that Paramount makes to be a hit. If a show isn't successful instantly, it won't be kept around. The era of getting five seasons of a show like Star Trek: Discovery is long over, but it could be worse for the consumer if yet another merger happens.
Paramount has already struck deals for their films to appear on other streaming services over the last few years, and they've already allowed Prodigy to be canceled, only to be picked up by Netxli and become a bona fide hit.
Another merger would further push Paramount to walk away from a central hub of Star Trek content. They'll have to pay off debts somehow and essentially leasing their Star Trek library seems like a real possibility. After all, they've already done it once. And as we've seen with the franchise fatigue over at Disney+, it's very likely that the same thing happens here.
If another merger happens, either one of two things will happen; Star Trek will become a copy and paste property, much the same as other major franchises have become or the creativity will be allowed to exist, but only if it generates enough interest. Otherwise, it'll meet a quick end. But in no world is a merger with these two major companies a good thing for the Star Trek franchise or its fans.