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What Disney's Acquisition of Fox Means For the Future of Film and TV (qz.com) 139

Disney announced on Thursday it had reached a $52 billion deal to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox. It is "the biggest and most consequential media merger in an era of big and consequential media consolidation deals," reports Quartz. "The deal will have a lasting effect on film, television, and the internet." From the report: If the merger is approved, Disney will own: All of Fox's film studios (20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Fox 2000); Fox's television studio; FX Networks; National Geographic; Fox's stake in European broadcaster Sky; Fox's stake in North American streamer Hulu. Staying with the hollowed out 21st Century Fox is the Fox broadcast network, Fox News, Fox Sports, and Fox Business. With Fox's film and TV studios and its cable networks, Disney will acquire the rights to literally hundreds of popular television series and movies. (Some of which include Avatar, X-Men, Deadpool, Modern Family and The Simpsons.)

Imagine all of the properties mentioned above, plus all of Disney's existing franchises (Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, etc.) combined into one internet streaming service. You won't have to imagine for long, because that's pretty much exactly why Disney CEO Bob Iger was so keen on buying all of Fox's biggest assets. Disney plans to release a streaming entertainment service in 2019. It would have been quite formidable on its own, even without Fox's help, but now it will likely be the first true rival to Netflix in the streaming space. Before today, Disney, Fox, and Comcast (NBCUniversal) all shared equal 30% stakes in Hulu (Time Warner owns 10%). But when Disney takes over Fox's share of the streaming service, it will own 60%, becoming a controlling majority owner, relegating Comcast to minority owner in the process.

20th Century Fox, we hardly knew ye. Okay, that may be a bit premature, but it's clear that Fox's film business won't be the same if the merger is approved. The deal marks the first time in modern history that one major film studio has purchased another, eliminating one of the "big six," and essentially giving Disney control of two-thirds of Hollywood. (The other four major movie studios are Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony.)

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What Disney's Acquisition of Fox Means For the Future of Film and TV

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  • Like Star Wars (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Errol backfiring ( 1280012 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @05:03AM (#55744343) Journal
    Does that mean we can expect X-men: The Rip-off, Avatar: the Rip-off, etc?
  • It is the AOL monopoly all over again! Someone help! /snark

  • by JonnyCalcutta ( 524825 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @05:32AM (#55744407)

    DisneyFlix will only become a 'rival to Netflix' because Netflix is being forced to become less of an aggregator and more of a distributor of its own content. So Netflix will become worse and Disney will only fill the void for content owned by Disney. I'm not saying anything new here - but welcome to the world of paying for multiple streaming providers (or piracy).

    Perhaps its time to think about some form of compulsory copyright licenses (as per music on the radio, or cable retransmissions).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15, 2017 @06:05AM (#55744439)

      First, it's obvious the government should block this deal as the media is way too conglomerated as it is, which of course means the Trump admin will approve it wholeheartedly (not that immediate previous admins would have blocked it either).

      Second, Disney won't become netflix. Disney is way too greedy for that. It will do some type of tiered pricing bullshit and then add PPV on any streaming they serve and the basic will be real shit. But on top of that, I can guarantee they'll do commercials.

      Which isn't to say Netflix isn't in big trouble. It is. It should have taken a loan long ago, brought HBO for original programming long ago, and built on that with acquisitions of libraries rather than trying to build the library one by one. Now all content is in a bubble getting more and more expensive.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your entire comment is ... well ... is the right word "uneducated"?
        a) Netflix is worth $92 billion. Double of the Fox company Disney is buying.
        b) Netflix will be spending $8 billion next year on content.
        c) Disney's revenue is declining. Properties like ABC, people aren't watch tv as much.
        d) Disney's revenue and profit declined despite the big revenue that the remade Star Wars movies made.

        So no "Netflix isn't in big trouble".

        What does Disney do after no one cares about the Star Warts "remakes" and after pe

        • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @07:20AM (#55744573) Journal

          > a) Netflix is worth $92 billion. Double of the Fox company Disney is buying.

          Fox has ten times the revenue and FORTY FIVE times the profit of Netflix. Netflix has hype that has generated speculative stock buys, and by every measure of fundamentals is *worth* a tiny fraction of that.

          > c) Disney's revenue is declining. Properties like ABC, people aren't watch tv as much.

          Disney's revenue has gone from $42B to $55B over the last five years. In the last ten years, every year has been a significant increase other than a dip in 2009, and 2017 was flat.

          • Fox has ten times the revenue and FORTY FIVE times the profit of Netflix.

            Which won't mean dick if they have the wrong business model. I'm not pretending I can pick the winner here or making any sort of assertion about either companies chances but I think it would be foolish to underestimate Netflix. They've already put at least one much larger competitor in the grave (Blockbuster).

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              Which won't mean dick if they have the wrong business model. I'm not pretending I can pick the winner here or making any sort of assertion about either companies chances but I think it would be foolish to underestimate Netflix. They've already put at least one much larger competitor in the grave (Blockbuster).

              Yeah, except Netflix is - willingly or unwillingly - being forced into the traditional movie/TV production company model rather than being universal gateways like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc. are for music. Like Disney got Frozen, Moana etc., HBO got GoT, Westworld etc., Netflix got The Crown, Stranger Things etc. and people buy the service because of that exclusive content. That's just a new competitor in an old market, not something revolutionary. Which I suppose could work okay like on Steam you buy

              • Yeah, except Netflix is - willingly or unwillingly - being forced into the traditional movie/TV production company model rather than being universal gateways

                It has always been a potential danger to Netflix's business model that anyone willing to spend enough to hire competence can do what they do. That's why producing content is the only viable way forward for them. HBO was once in a similar position on cable. They produced their own original content, and that enabled them to continue to exist and even thrive even though they originally made their name by showing other people's movies.

                Nobody's had to force Netflix to create content. It was the only viable path

            • Netflix may certainly grow. A LOT of people are Netflix subscribers now. I wouldn't be surprised if they eventually get 50% more subscribers. They need ten to a hundred times as many subscribers in order to justify their *current* stock valuation, and I don't see that happening.

              > Which won't mean dick if they have the wrong business model.

              The right business model sure is important! Size, maturity of the organization, and experience does matter, though, and in fact a company the size of Fox, Google, or

          • You actually bring up an interesting point people aren't mentioning. Disney owns ABC, so this will in effect be a reduction of the national TV studios from 4 (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox) to 3 (CBS, NBC, Disney).

            I'm actually old enough to remember when there were just three big TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC). Fox managed to claw its way up into becoming the 4th national TV network [wikipedia.org] in the late 1980s/early 1990s. I suspect that'll be the rationale to approve this merger - we've had only 3 national networks before a
            • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

              As I understand it, Disney isn't buying the broadcast network. Now, Fox (the broadcaster) may well die off now that it doesn't have its own production studio, but that can't be directly inferred.

              • Disney isn't buying the network but it is buying the studio. So the OP about reducing the number of studios to three is correct, whether or not the studio-less Fox broadcast network survives.

                How the Fox network will avoid a slow death is unclear. It could double down on sports and news, commission a bunch of cheap reality shows, or fade away into being a rerun network like the various third-tier networks (MeTV, MyNetworkTV, etc).

                Fox won't disappear immediately because of its existing programming. But it wil

                • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

                  Disney isn't buying the network but it is buying the studio. So the OP about reducing the number of studios to three is correct, whether or not the studio-less Fox broadcast network survives.

                  A good point, thank you. My mistake.

        • Disney released "Cars 3" this year and it didn't do well -- Disney doesn't have any new ideas.

          The Disney side of Disney is actually doing quite well. Coco, Moana, Frozen, etc were all smash hits, and were relatively original for the current landscape. Now, the Pixar side is falling back on its laurels a little, but it's hard to believe they're completely out of ideas.

          Disney's a giant conglomerate that owns a lot of franchises. Of course you're going to see sequels and variations of those franchises fro

          • by fropenn ( 1116699 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @10:15AM (#55745399)
            The merchandising for the Cars franchise has produced over $10 billion in sales. Cars 3 made money on its own, but it really served as an advertising avenue for the more profitable aspects of the business, such as the theme park, toys, branded clothing, etc. http://www.cartoonbrew.com/box... [cartoonbrew.com]
          • by flink ( 18449 )

            Pixar also had Inside Out which was fantastic. Wreck It Ralph was also very good, although I don't know how well it did commercially.

        • by orlanz ( 882574 )

          Disney isn't a company meant for "creativity" in the making new stuff sense. They are an entertainment company with assets in movies/shows, plays, theme parks, toys, and leasing. They are creative in the sense of bring generation after generation into the fold using pretty much the same assets.

          Netflix is streaming media company with just a small media sector. Comparing the two would be like comparing a regular restaurant to an ice cream shop. The restaurant's dessert ice cream isn't going to kill off th

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          Netflix isn't a "streaming service". There are other streaming services out there. Netflix is a user experience.

          Are you posting this from Netflix headquarters? This is the sort of marketing speak used to dazzle investors that anyone with half a brain sees through as corporate blather. Netflix is a fucking streaming service (and very good but not as good as they used to be DVD/BluRay service), in some ways better, in many ways worse than its competition.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Yer wrong. Trump's alleged Administration will okay it because Murdoch will still own Fox News, and without that, Trump and his Republican quislings have no megaphone of similar size to give the faithful their marching instructions.

      • So glad my daughter doesn't really care that much for Disney movies and shows

      • A Republican government will do jack shit about a merger where Rupert Murdoch stands to gain billions of dollars. In the improbable event they stick their oar in, expect Fox News to actually start attacking Republicans - and I don't mean some "establishment" Republicans, I mean Trump, the Tea Party, everyone.
      • Which isn't to say Netflix isn't in big trouble. It is. It should have taken a loan long ago, brought HBO for original programming long ago, and built on that with acquisitions of libraries rather than trying to build the library one by one. Now all content is in a bubble getting more and more expensive.

        It's not clear that HBO was ever available for sale to Netflix. Instead of buying HBO, Netflix is simply copying them, and developing their own original content. It seems to me like they are doing exactly what they should be doing. New original content is worth more than old original content.

        • I don't disagree with what you say, except I think the big losers are the viewers (as always). Netflix will just become one of many online portals providing their own content - they are clearly big enough to finish that transition and really have no choice now. But that leaves viewers still looking for somewhere they can get all the content they want at a reasonable price (and across platforms - which is a big deal for some).

          Basically, a win for piracy as content owners shoot themselves in the foot again.

      • by qubezz ( 520511 )
        They probably will block it, considering that Republican conservatives in power might lose their right-wing spin machine to a bunch of bleeding heart liberals.
        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          They probably will block it, considering that Republican conservatives in power might lose their right-wing spin machine to a bunch of bleeding heart liberals.

          The Fox News Network is not included with the sale. Fox News, Fox Sports, etc remain with the old company.

      • I think you're completely right on the streaming service, and you only have to look at Hulu to see it. (Which will almost certainly be the basis for Disney's streaming service now that they own a controlling stake in it.) I refuse to touch Hulu with a 10 foot pole because I'm always told that my money is speech, and I refuse to endorse the crap that Hulu pulls. I'm sorry, but if you're going to charge me almost the same cost as Amazon Prime or Netflix for your 'plus' tier, then it had better not include c

      • HBO is part of Time Warner. That is too big a buyout for Netflix to finance, plus it would come with a bunch of properties (all those cable channels, and until a few years ago magazines) that are outside of their core business. Buying HBO alone would have been a nice deal for Netflix but TW is unlikely to want to sell it.

        Now that the deal with AT&T is off the table, I suppose a merger of Netflix and Time Warner isn't out of the question, treating the two companies are equals or nearly so, followed by a

    • DisneyFlix will only become a 'rival to Netflix' because Netflix is being forced to become less of an aggregator and more of a distributor of its own content. So Netflix will become worse and Disney will only fill the void for content owned by Disney.

      First off, don't assume Netflix will become "worse". Disney is greedy enough that they'll likely release their streaming service in a tiered format, where they feel it right and proper to charge you a different rate based on their massive content portfolio (like charging you more to access "premium" Disney content). I'm certain by 2019 we'll be feeling the full fuck-up of the Net Neutrality dismantling, so tiered streaming services isn't far-fetched.

      I'm not saying anything new here - but welcome to the world of paying for multiple streaming providers (or piracy).

      Perhaps its time to think about some form of compulsory copyright licenses (as per music on the radio, or cable retransmissions).

      It was best to think about these things well before gove

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @07:34AM (#55744589)

        Actually, people didn't pay for the 50 channels they wanted. They paid for the 50 shows they wanted. And this is not going to be any different. Be honest, all you "CBS all access" subscribers, who of you is watching anything other than STD? Possibly because of "I pay for it anyway, so I can just as well...", but NONE of these other formats is something you'd pay for.

      • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @09:41AM (#55745157)

        It was best to think about these things well before government allowed massive monopolies like this to even exist. Today, it's far too late. The cable cutters who felt they were getting ripped off with 50 channels of what they want bundled with 500 channels of shit they don't will now pay a dozen streaming providers for the 50 streaming channels of what they want bundled with 50,000 streaming channels of shit they don't. The only difference is your internet service and streaming costs will likely make cable seem like a bargain in the end.

        Speak for yourself.

        II'm doing more reading and playing more video games than in recent years. I've converted my library of DVDs into H.265 digital files, and we have plenty of entertainment content without having to subscribe to a procession of streaming services. I'm lazy. I'm too lazy to subscribe to multiple streaming services, follow up with which one has a show I might want to watch, pay multiple subscriptions...so I have a library of digital movies that have replaced my VHS and DVD physical copies, an occasional trip to the theater, an occasional pirate bay foray if my wife is desperate to see something - but other than that, alternative entertainment.

        How many other people are that kind of lazy? Not willing to deal with the hassle? Switching to a different mode of entertainment?

        Cable cutting isn't about cutting a cable subscription, then filling in X hours per week with alternate television programming found elsewhere. It's a viable option. Its more about cable as a failing entertainment medium - both in content and medium delivery (mounting costs and ads).

        I should think a lot of people are watching less TV. Polls say the younger generations certainly are.

    • >welcome to the world of paying for multiple streaming providers

      Which will generate a market for services to offer a consolidated viewing experience.

      Enter the regional MSP (Media Service Provider) to fill the role previously filled by the cable companies. They will take others' content and redistribute it to you through a single interface and a single monthly bill. They'll handle billing and local caching and probably employ all of two or three people for any given urban area, but they'll exist.

      The st

      • As the AC said - you are describing Netflix (except for the number of employees). Since Netflix are slowly losing content from more and more studios what makes you think the content makers are going to allow other companies to come along and aggregate it?

        The closest to what you describe are the grey/black market services such as those provided through Kodi. With the right Kodi plugins you can stream anything on demand and it costs nothing but time (e.g. its a little bit less user friendly to setup and keep

      • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

        They will take others' content and redistribute it to you through a single interface and a single monthly bill. They'll handle billing and local caching and probably employ all of two or three people for any given urban area, but they'll exist.

        It'll probably be very expensive as well. And Pay-Per-View. Oh, they don't want to do that? Then they will get no distribution rights for the content. Just because customers want something, and a company is interested in providing it for a reasonable cost, doesn't mean it will happen. Legally, it won't be possible without media conglomerate blessing.

    • > welcome to the world of paying for multiple streaming providers

      People bitched about wanting TV a la carte.

      This is exactly what it looks like -- instead of having 1 over-priced subscription you'll have / want / need 5+ overpriced ones now.

      • Nope. That is what it looks like without a la carte.

        A la carte means you'd be paying for individual channels, not subscriptions to "providers."

    • but welcome to the world of paying for multiple streaming providers (or piracy).

      Welcome? I never really left. Streaming services have only one thing over torrents, access speed. They shit on network topology creating peak hours, their pricing model doesn't allow for winners and losers, they have a massive incentive to drive down bitrates to save on bandwidth costs, you cannot take anything with you on trips, you can't edit anything and you can't use your video player of choice. Thats before the difference between free and paid.

      If they released a platform like steam, in which I download

      • You can download some Netflix movies now and take them with you on trips; it's available in the mobile apps and the Windows 10 app. Sadly it's only a small fraction of their catalog, though all Netflix originals are included.

        Netflix does have an incentive to drive down bandwidth. But they also seem to be aware of the need to maintain quality. In the past they cut bandwidth by developing improvements to their H.264 codec, and more recently by switching to VP9 if the user's equipment is compatible. I expect t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 15, 2017 @05:38AM (#55744413)

    They'll think they have you by the balls and not put any effort into making their streaming service customer friendly, i.e. support many devices, work reliably on a wide range of internet connections, etc. They'll make you pay for stuff you don't want to see by bundling it with stuff that you do want to see. The list goes on and on. Monopoly tactics.

    • I don't know about that. It's true that the Disney-branded offerings on the AppleTV are total crap - limit all shows to the latest 3 episodes and "rent" all movies. With a majority stake in Hulu and their acquisition of that other streaming provider, they finally have a means to reach the couch. They could expand Hulu and make it a real competitor with all of their content. At least their Disney stuff only advertises their own things, much like HBO.

      Eh, who am I kidding, they'll probably squeeze every penny

      • by orlanz ( 882574 )

        Hulu was actually one of the best streaming services out there. I considered them better than Netflix... in the first year that they came out. Every year after they became worse. Primarily due to the owners trying to "monetize" the service. Hulu is a joke now. Disney can't really make it worse, but I am pretty sure none of the owners have the competency to make it better.

  • 52B (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @06:55AM (#55744549) Journal
    Everybody is talking about what Disney is going to do with all that intellectual property, but what I want to know is what will the 52B be used for at what is left of Fox? Thatâ(TM)s a LOT of money. What Fox does with it will also be Major unless itâ(TM)s just pocketed by investors and stock holders.
    • If the Trump administration vetoes the buyout: not much.

      If the Trump administration supports the buyout: re-electing the Republicans. It'll all go to Fox News and the rest of the Murdoch media empire.

      • What makes me wonder: does Fox News make profits? Or its political placement makes Fox unpalatable to advertisers? (I'm a foreigner, never been in USA)

    • by crow ( 16139 )

      They'll own a quarter of Disney. The question is whether they'll sell it, keep it as an investment, or try to influence Disney.

  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speterNO@SPAMtedata.net.eg> on Friday December 15, 2017 @07:43AM (#55744607) Journal

    The deal marks the first time in modern history that one major film studio has purchased another, eliminating one of the "big six," and essentially giving Disney control of two-thirds of Hollywood. (The other four major movie studios are Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony.)

    This means that, within the next two years, I guarantee you'll see another merger between the four other players.

    And all in the name of "competition", of course.

    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @08:58AM (#55744931)

      It's the freakin' blob, another Hollywood invention.

    • We'll likely see Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, and Sony all merge down to two film companies.

      AT&T
      Verizon
      T-Mobile
      and smaller less relevant fries.

      • Further consolidation of cell companies is stalled for now. AT&T's proposed buyout of T-Mobile was blocked on antitrust grounds. The more recent attempts at a merger of T-Mobile and Sprint fell apart because the sides couldn't agree on who would run the company. (Softbank, the big Japanese company that now owns Sprint, wanted to retain control, but pretty much everybody else wants the Sprint management to go away and have the T-Mobile people run it.) I don't think AT&T or Verizon will be allowed to
    • Comcast NBC Universal is already huge and probably won't be allowed to merge with anybody. But we could see activity among the others, either merging with each other or perhaps joining forces with Netflix or other streaming companies.
  • More x-men with avengers.
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @08:21AM (#55744733)

    If I was a full-time conspiracy theorist instead of just a part-timer, I'd say that the recent destruction of Net Neutrality in America was accomplished with this Disney acquisition in mind. As it is, I'll limit myself to noting that the timing is at least a little bit suspicious.

    • If I was a full-time conspiracy theorist instead of just a part-timer, I'd say that the recent destruction of Net Neutrality in America was accomplished with this Disney acquisition in mind.

      I'm sure Disney places no particular value on Net Neutrality because they are large enough to not have to care too much. I'm not sure how much they care but I doubt they are worried too much about it.

      I'm just waiting for the next extension to copyright right around the time Mickey Mouse should enter the public domain sometime before 2024.

  • It means we will soon see Fox News anchors in a new business attire [weclipart.com].

  • Murdoch is keeping the entities associated with political control, while unloading all of the apolitical entertainment "fluff". I was very curious to see if he would give up Fox News to the uncertain control of Disney, who (after all) has to be at least a little bit responsive to its entertainment audience and who MIGHT not continue to prop up the POTUS when all others (except for the uber-loyal National Enquirer) actually point it out when he lies or tweets an insulting comment about a member of Congress'

  • by wwalker ( 159341 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @12:37PM (#55746507) Journal

    So Simpsons are now owned by Disney? Boy, oh, boy! Since Fox has been a running joke in many Simpsons episodes, I can't wait to see what they come up with about their new overlords.

    • Something along the lines of Itchy and Mickey having a gay wedding. And Scratchy crashes the wedding after refusing to make a wedding cake, only to get drunk and go home with the best man (Goofy).

    • The production of The Simpsons would move over. I expect that the Fox broadcast network will retain control of the broadcast rights for a while.
  • by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Friday December 15, 2017 @01:04PM (#55746751) Homepage

    We will get to hear the trumpeting of the 21st Centery Fox theme prior to Star Wars again, on all the new releases. And probably on any future re-releases.

  • 1) The Sherman Anti-Trust Act isn't worth the paper it's written on.

    2) Monopolies and/or oligarchies appear to be increasingly acceptable to everyone. Comfort/familiarity trumps (now old-school) free market economics.

    • We should have a free market system. And by that I mean a few powerful families should be free to do whatever the fuck they want. Eliminating the estate tax and deregulating pretty much everything brings us closer to this ideal.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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