NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Media companies plan to ask U.S. regulators to force AT&T Inc and Time Warner Inc to share their trove of customer data if the telecom and content companies merge, fearing the combined behemoth would have an unfair advantage selling targeted mobile advertising, a handful of media executives told Reuters this week. Customer data has become a key to the media industry’s future as TV networks strive to provide the same kind of advertising as digital companies like Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc , which tailor pitches according to what they know about their customers. AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner would give the media company’s networks, such as HBO, Cinemax and Turner, potentially unprecedented data about viewers who have AT&T cell phones and DirecTV accounts.
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