In 1988, two parties were interested in buying Warner Communications, owners of Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Comics, and, at the time, Six Flags Theme Parks and Warner Music. Those parties were publishing giant Time, Inc. and newly emancipated Paramount Pictures Communications, owners of Paramount Pictures, publisher Simon and Schuster, and interests in USA Networks.
In 1989, Paramount Communications purchased Warner Communications for $15 billion dollars. In the 16 years since the merger, Warner-Paramount Entertainment, has become the largest entertainment company in the world with competitors like Buena Vista, Viacom, and Fox right behind them. What makes Warner-Paramount great is the strong legacy of entertainment behind them. The combined film and television library, which included Warner Bros. (including the titles Warner-Paramount received after purchasing Turner Entertainment in 1995), Paramount, New Line, Castle Rock, and MGM (studio-owned films prior to 1986) has over 90 years of history. With the Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, Hanna-Barbera, and Fleischer Studios titles, Warner-Paramount also has the largest animation library on the planet.
Perhaps the studio's biggest assets are its cable properties. After completely buying out the remaining shares of USA Networks, Warner-Paramount rebranded the unit Star Networks. After the studio bought Turner Entertainment in 1995, Warner-Paramount merged the network units with the Star Networks group as Turner-Star Networks. Years before the Turner purchase, Warner-Paramount launched Plex, a premium movie channel to compete with Time's HBO and Cinemax and Viacom's Showtime and Movie Channel. W-P also launched Trax, a music-video network that utilized the Warner Music library and became a huge competitor to Viacom's MTV.
Development of newer properties and revamps of older studio-owned properties like Star Trek, Dukes of Hazzard, MacGyver, Superman, Batman, and others lead them to launch the fifth broadcast network. The Warner Bros./Paramount Network (WPN) launched in January 1995 after finding broadcast partnerships with independent station groups as well as launching their own network-owned group. WPN Kids becomes the most-watched programming block on Saturday mornings.
Even though they are comfortable and considered complacent by their competitors, Warner-Paramount continues to be a well-rounded entertainment company in the 21st century with many new endeavors to come.