The deal was sealed today for the Disney Corporation to complete its takeover of the Fox Corporation.
Even the prodigious imagination of Disney himself, while sketching out Mickey Mouse in another era could hardly have envisioned the business he developed paying $71 Billion for another media company but that’s the world we now inhabit.
Terrifyingly large though the number is it is still $10 Billion shy of what AT&T paid for Time Warner a year ago.
We live in an era of consolidation and of gathering enough goodies to make you more attractive to consumers than other services.
This land grab of entertainment content from The Simpsons to Modern Family, via Marvel’s rich cast of characters, is intended to provide Disney with the kind of slate that will challenge Netflix and Amazon for the hundreds of millions of users that are now in play for that most attractive and elusive of business models, the endlessly repeating subscription that modern media is based on.
It used to be about ticket sales at the box office, or advertising dollars from the big agencies but Netflix turned that on its head by reaching out, Over The Top, direct to those were are watching in the comfort of their homes.
There will be major upheaval in the sector as a result. Thousands of media executives will face lay off as two mega brands become one. Thousands more projects will forever lie unmade because a reduction in the number of those who are competing for content means a lessening of the ability to get ‘inside’ the machine with a project that has elements of risk attached to it.
Those are a couple of the prices that will be paid beneath the headline figure.
There will be benefits as well though. A hugely funded new streaming service will provide choice on the TV, Tablet or mobile device through which it is being streamed.
Disney is understood already to have advanced plans for a number of content pillars including Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
It remains at heart a producer rather than just a distributor which could yet give it an edge but Netflix has recognized the challenge and is developing its own major production credentials.
Today’s takeover will not change our lives overnight. It will though change the way that entertainment is produced, delivered and consumed over time. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is almost irrelevant. It’s just a thing, caused by disruption and the inevitable look for the status quo of big business to find its feet on the shifting sands of where we are.
Get Connected to the Business of Entertainment in Ireland by joining us as a Member and enjoy the many benefits of a Daily News Digest, keynote events throughout the year where we share and learn together and the opportunity to have us tell your story. Contact us by email for more information</p