Disney has finally inked a deal with 21st Century Fox to acquire assets including Fox’s film and television studios, cable networks, international TV assets, and Fox’s interest in the Hulu streaming service. Bob Iger will extend his contract with Disney through 2021 to oversee the integration of Fox into Disney.
There are some immediate advantages to Disney. First, they are able to complete their ownership and control of Marvel and Lucas Film properties such as the X-Men and Star Wars Episode IV. They also become the owner of Avatar, which they’ve just built a theme park land around at Walt Disney World. Disney will gain ownership of Fox’s film and television studios, which gives Disney more production power. But the big news here is the expansion of Disney’s content portfolio, which will help fuel Disney’s ambitions to launch a major streaming service which could rival Netflix.
Along with the deal comes an impressive list movies, TV shows and cable networks. In the deal, Disney will get TV shows such as the Simpsons, Family Guy, Modern Family, M*A*S*H, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Bones, Empire, 24, This Is Us, American Dad, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Futurama, New Girl, and The X-Files among many others. Top movies that will go to Disney include Avatar, Titanic, Deadpool, Independence Day, Home Alone, Night at the Museum, X-Men, Cast Away, The Martian, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mrs. Doubtfire, Ice Age, The Croods, and Kung Fu Panda . . .
But Disney isn’t getting all of Fox. Fox News, Fox Sports, and Fox Business channels will remain with 20th Century Fox along with the Fox broadcast network, its TV stations and some additional cable channels. Interestingly, the large 20th Century Fox lot in Century City will also remain with Fox.
The Fox deal is one of many major purchases made by Bob Iger since he took over the company. Here are the largest:
- Muppets $680 Million
- Maker Studios 1 Billion
- Marvel 2.4 Billion
- Lucas Film 4.1 Billion
- Pixar 7.4
- Fox 52 Billion
Although the price tag is massive, investors seem to think this is good news for both companies. It is unclear if regulators will think the same. This acquisition will likely raise eyebrows as Disney expands its control over both content and distribution and diminishes competition in the industry. Others may think the opposite as this move will allow Disney to provide true competition to Netflix and provide another major player in the emerging streaming market.
What are your thoughts folks? Is bigger better for Disney? How will this change the content mix at Disney? Do you like seeing Disney continue to add things to its content base that you might not want to see in the parks? How would you feel about a Family Guy ride or Disney trying to end the Simpson’s license at Universal so they can add a Simpson’s land in the Disney parks? And what do you make of Disney’s plans to become the next Netflix? Should Disney focus on producing family-friendly content and leave the distribution to others? Curious about your thoughts on this complicated business deal.