A media giant in the balance: AT&T antitrust trial kicks off

A media giant in the balance: AT&T antitrust trial kicks off

AT&T is squaring off against the federal government in a trial that could shape how you get — and how much you pay for — streaming TV and movies.

AT&T says it needs to gobble up Time Warner to have a chance against the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Google in the rapidly evolving world of video entertainment. The government says that if AT&T and Time Warner are allowed to join forces, consumers will end up paying more to watch their favorite shows.

That’s the gist of a landmark antitrust trial that could lay out what media companies will look like in the future. The trial kicks off Monday in Washington.

If the judge blocks the acquisition, a chill over media deal-making is likely. If it goes through, it could spur a wave of similar deals.