"The bigger opportunity is to make the content businesses more profitable and more certain," Malone told CNBC.
The telecommunications executive said the deal provides AT&T with "substantial diversification" of its core business. Even if people decide to buy content a la carte through over-the-top streaming plans, Time Warner's channels and shows would be in demand for these smaller services, he said. AT&T would also benefit from getting the lowest possible transfer prices for Time Warner's portfolio.
"There is definite synergy between owning the content and having the largest distributor," Malone said.
AT&T announced in October that it was purchasing Time Warner for more than $85 billion. The deal still has to pass U.S. regulators, and Donald Trump has said that as president
Content is becoming more valuable as consumers move away from standard cable and satellite packages and toward other digital content providers like Netflix or stand-alone services like HBO.
By buying Time Warner, AT&T has a better foothold not only in the content, but can bolster its digital advertising business. The company is one of the leaders in cross-screen advertising, and having content that people want to watch could potentially draw in advertisers who seek to reach these people on mobile and on TV.