Well… the deed is done. Disney has bought Fox..
I reported last week that Disney and Fox were on the cusp of a multi-billion dollar deal that would send Disney to the apex of programming and IP. (Even though they probably already were there.) The time has finally come.
As of this morning, the deal is done. Walt Disney has agreed to buy 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets division for a total $52.4 billion dollars. Yes, Disney has bought Fox. Fox’s remaining assets, which include Fox News and their sports division, will combine and form a new company. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger stated that “Disney is incredibly excited about the acquisition and it is an amazing opportunity to expand many iconic franchises.”
What does this mean to consumers?
Disney now has the rights to: X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avatar, The Simpsons, Silver Surfer, Planet of the Apes, X-Files, the Alien franchise, FX network and shows on it like Legion, the character Cable, Deadpool, Logan, The New Mutants. That’s just the beginning. Disney has amassed a massive, MASSIVE library of IP for their future. Which includes two of their own digital streaming services akin to Netflix releasing in 2018-2019. The first will be entitled ESPN Plus. The second will be built from their own animation, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar brands developed into one service. Bob Iger also bought Fox’s minority stake in Hulu which results in majority control of the streaming service.
What does this mean for content creators?
Wow. That’s another news story that we can chalk up to The Simpsons being the first to report it many years ago. Many creators of content, however, are not as elated as their consumers. If Disney buys them and decides to shrink that studio, then that is one less studio for a creator to pitch their content. The more “monopolies” that happen, the fewer chances and opportunities that content creators have. Let’s use Stranger Things as our example…
Stranger Things, as created by the Duffer brothers, Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen, was not created according to plan. When the Duffer Brothers prepared their pilot script for the show, they pitched it to over 12 cable networks and were turned down by every single one. Finally, they pitched the idea to Netflix, and Netflix immediately bought the entire first season after hearing their idea.
Stories like that are less likely to happen. 21st Century Fox had the possibility of being the “Netflix” in the Duffer Brothers story, to someone else. To someone who has an idea or a premise that they believe in and want to bring to fruition, Fox was their opportunity. With Fox now gone, one studio is gone and one of the many studios out there has become large, grandiose, and capable of unapologetic dismissal in the creative process. This is a somewhat dangerous slippery slope.
The fact that Disney has bought Fox is both exciting and concerning for multiple reasons. If you are someone who wants to create and build using entertainment, now is the time to hone your craft. For the audience out there, the world of movies and television is about to get interesting.
Your move, Sony.