Entertainment: Disney expands its kingdom
Fortifying Disney’s citadel(Newscom (2))
Disney finalized its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox this week, said Meg James in the Los Angeles Times, making it “the world’s pre-eminent entertainment company.” The deal, first unveiled in 2017, “fortifies Disney against the onslaught” from tech firms like Netflix, Amazon, and Apple and their popular streaming services. The merger gives Disney control of a slate of franchises that include Deadpool, Avatar, and The Simpsons. Disney is expected to assume $36 billion in debt with the purchase, and the company has struggled to shed Fox’s 22 regional sports networks. But one analyst called the deal “a game changer” for the media industry.
For Fox’s storied film studio, the disruption has just begun, said Nicole Sperling in VanityFair.com. The new alliance was “forged out of desperation” to combat the threat posed by streaming TV. Fox will get reduced to “a label within Disney,” and many of its projects will be used to feed Disney’s streaming service. Much of the studio’s Hollywood staff expects to be let go, as Disney cuts down on the 12 to 20 movies Fox released each year. While Disney chief Bob Iger says he likes big risks, the risks he seems to like most are ones that “easily tie into Disney’s theme parks and massive merchandising operations.” ■