bob iger walt disney company

  • A Disney/Fox combination would create lots of leverage when negotiating with cable distributors, advertisers, and increasingly tech giants like Apple, Netflix, and Amazon.
  • But the limitations of the deal reportedly floated by Disney, which wouldn’t include the Fox network and Fox sports, would limit its impact.
  • In either case, Disney & Fox would still be reliant on other companies’ distribution, whether through broadband pipes (e.g. Comcast) or digital platforms (e.g. Facebook, Netflix).

As the headlines flashed across Twitter earlier today – Disney might by Fox! – the easy first reaction was, ‘holy crap, is that really possible?

Ten — even five — years ago, such a deal would’ve been unimaginable for two reasons. Two of the biggest TV and movie companies on the planet wouldn’t be interested in merging when they still had the clout to beat each other’s brains in. Also, they wouldn’t be allowed to anyway, right? That would give one media entity way too much power.

But if the past half-decade has taught us anything, it’s that media giants don’t have the power they used to. Not in a world where they are suddenly battling Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for people’s entertainment time, and for advertisers’ wallets.

A huge merger now might actually be necessary for big media survival.

“It’s a signal that all deals are possible,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of the data-centric TV ad company Simulmedia. “With Google and Amazon, and soon AT&T buying Time Warner, everybody in media is suddenly sub-scale. What would have been totally unthinkable and unnecessary is actually the only way to go for these companies.”

Thus, the potential deal (which according to CNBC and Bloomberg was rebuffed by Fox and is not actively being discussed) could make sense for lots of reasons. Let’s run through a few: