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Disney to Acquire Twenty-First Century Fox (thewaltdisneycompany.com)
566 points by mxfh on Dec 14, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 348 comments



Sane antitrust regulations should kill this deal.

It is bad for everybody other than shareholders of those two companies. In particular bad for customers, other companies and employees: https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/2172555...

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21695385-profits-are...


It's not so black and white. Stratchery posits consolidation may promote competition at the distribution layer, where Netflix presently stands to dominate:

"To that end, might it be better for consumers, not-so-much today but ten years from now, if Disney were fully empowered to compete with Netflix? What is preferable? A dominant streaming company and a collection of content companies trying to escape the commoditization trap, or two dominant streaming companies that can at least try to hold each other accountable?" [1]

An analog might be found in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger [2]. It is not obvious whether their consolidation would have reduced competition, by turning two options into one, or increased it, by creating a stronger number three to AT&T and Verizon.

[1] https://stratechery.com/2017/disney-and-fox/

[2] http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/04/news/companies/sprint-t-mobi...


Is Netflix approaching monopoly?

If anything I've seen a ton of competition coming up from the likes of Amazon, HBO, and a billion smaller services.


Agreed, I have no idea what the OP might be referring to about Netflix. It's got a ton of competition, and has had an increasingly smaller selection of media due to companies pulling their own content to roll their own media services.

Netflix is becoming more of an HBO than anything. Hardly the holder of all media on the internet or some type of media monopoly.


Netflix is on the trajectory to becoming a monopoly, yes. HBO is hamstrung by its lucrative cable tv deals in the US, which prevents it from competing effectively with Netflix in the streaming market. They will keep making money hand over fist from cable tv until suddenly they don’t. If Netflix is Google, HBO is Yahoo. Amazon in this analogy, of course would be Bing. At a glance they seem to have what is required to compete with Netflix: Deep pockets and technological competence. But to compete in this market is for Netflix a matter of life or death, whereas for Amazon, it’s a side show. As for the multitude of smaller competitors, they are all the search engines we’ve forgotten the names of or never heard of to begin with.


If HBO is hamstrung by lucrative deals, then it stands to think that HBO's own deal making has prevented them from usurping Netflix. To my knowledge, I haven't heard of Netflix having overtly anti-competitive behavior but I'm all ears for examples. It seems as though HBO is capable of competing, but they have to make a risky play and get out from their cable TV bubble to do so, which is no fault of Netflix.

If anything, this shows that the monolithic telecoms that have large stakes in these cable TV brands are facilitating monopolies elsewhere because likely competitors are locked into their current markets.

EDIT: to be clear, HBO's unsuccessful attempt to be level with Netflix in the streaming arena is more "don't want to" and not "can't". I wouldn't call a lack of wanting to be monopolistic. If HBO suddenly turned around and wanted to compete directly with Netflix and got boxed out by Netflix in some way, i.e. Netflix striking deals with Level 3 or similar providers to prevent HBO from getting equal treatment, then there's a strong case for them being labeled a monopoly.


To my knowledge, I haven't heard of Netflix having overtly anti-competitive behavior but I'm all ears for examples.

I’ not aware of any either, but one does not have to engage in anti-competitive behavior to become or be a monopoly.

If anything, this shows that the monolithic telecoms that have large stakes in these cable TV brands are facilitating monopolies elsewhere because likely competitors are locked into their current markets

Yes, that’s right. But like HBO, they are trapped by their business model.


> HBO is hamstrung by its lucrative cable tv deals in the US, which prevents it from competing effectively with Netflix in the streaming market.

HBO's library is far smaller than Netflix's (though average quality of titles is higher). Their streaming service is also objectively terrible: slow, unreliable, bad UX. On top of that it's 50% more expensive than Netflix. I'm not sure it's just the lucrative TV deals keeping them from competing with Netflix in streaming.


I remember that watching the same HBO episode via Amazon was flawless while via HBO's website it was often buffering.


> HBO is hamstrung by its lucrative cable tv deals in the US

I'm not sure this is true. HBO Go is available for subscription in the US, is available on many streaming platforms. Additionally, you can subscribe to HBO through Amazon Prime (among other places; I just happen to use the Prime subscription). I can't comment on differences in marketing spend or consumer goodwill, but from my perspective, I see the same level of service between HBO and Netflix (though admittedly, Netflix is usually more stable).


> HBO is hamstrung by its lucrative cable tv deals in the US, which prevents it from competing effectively with Netflix in the streaming market.

What are you basing this on? They partnered with the same company that Disney just bought to create HBO Now, their video on demand offering. It has 2 million subscribers and is another revenue source for them.

The "problem" with HBO Now is that subscribership spikes when the Game of Thrones starts and plummets when the season ends. Now that the series is winding down, they need to find another one but with their history of great shows I wouldn't bet against them.


In this analogy, who is Duck Duck Go?


Hulu?


Disney is rolling out their own streaming service in 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/disney-will-pull-its-movies-...

Netflix was just there first, but they don't own most of the content.


Yeah, Netflix is a monopoly, or almost a monopoly.

Amazon Prime is basically US-only. HBO gets hired during GoT season and then dumped.

Meanwhile, the majority of the people out there have Netflix. We even see ads on the streets and all over the place, while the other two competitors are still inexistent.


http://fortune.com/2015/10/08/netflix-bandwith

Netflix 35% of internet traffic; AMZ Video 2%. I'd say it looks like it.


Exactly my thought.

It is one of the biggest companies facing a ton of competition and still doing a superb job.


Hulu, Shudder, FilmStruck


That's why I never liked having Netflix be the poster child for "Net Neutrality".

Like with Pro Life vs Pro Choice we have two campaign slogans "Net Neutrality" and "Internet Freedom" coined by entrenched interests.


Netflix is the poster child not because of monopoly issues but because there's a public, known record of Comcast slowing down Netflix before the Title II regulation came into being, it's the most prominent and widely concerning proof that non-neutral stuff does (and will) happen.


Haha, that's hilarious. In order to fight one quasi-monopoly in one field, we're combining two of another. What could possibly go wrong?


Lots of things could go wrong in either breaking up the quasi-monopoly, or doing nothing at all. None of these are obviously the right path.


Alien vs Predator: Whoever wins, we lose.


This deal kills one streaming platform. We previously had Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon as the big players. Disney recently purchased BAMTech which does the streaming for MLB, HBO, NHL, WWE, ESPN, League of Legends, and others. After this purchase, Disney planned to create a streaming service with the BAMTech technology and Disney catalog in 2019. [1] That new service would be a strong instant competitor with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Now BAMTech and Hulu have the same majority owners so it is unlikely that they ever come into direct competition with each other.

[1] - https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/walt-disney-company-acquire...


HBO? I went to kubecon last week and one of the keynotes was from the HBO team which detailed how they transitioned from ec2 to k8s on aws the past two years...


HBO's streaming strategy has been a little strange. They built one streaming product internally that wasn't particularly great and couldn't handle a lot of the huge traffic spikes they see with things like new Game of Thrones episodes.

They then contracted out to BAMTech to build a second nearly identical streaming product. BAMTech previously specialized in live event streaming, so they were better able to handle huge demand spikes. The unusual part is HBO never retired the first service and they have been running both side by side for years. Which service you get is dependent on whether you subscribe to HBO through a cable company or whether you subscribe to HBO directly.

HBO has recently started reinvesting in their internal streaming option with the likely long term plan of ditching the BAMTech run service. Odds are that was what they were talking about at KubeCon.


Wow, HBO really sounds like a hot mess. I have heard from someone there that they have high turnover as well. I guess it should be no surprise.


Stratchery has a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards government regulation in general. He seems ok with the net neutrality repeal, for example.[1]

[1] https://stratechery.com/tag/net-neutrality/


It would be more accurate to say, he's ok with reclassifying internet services as Title I, given that 1) ISPs have almost never tried to throttle by traffic type, 2) business model innovation (e.g. zero rating, etc) can have positive effects, and 3) internet access has lots of room for improvement that will require investment, and tying the hands of the providers may prevent that.

(I don't necessarily agree with all those points, but Stratechery has been about the only useful counterpoint recently.)


Do you actually believe that these points are useful? You're distancing yourself from "agreeing" with them, maybe because you know how wrong they are, but you still seem to be sympathetic to them.

>1) ISPs have almost never tried to throttle by traffic type

They have been shown to do this, have an interest in doing it, and it's illegal to do it. Say you're playing chess, and you consider making a move such that, if they move their rook to h7 it would be mate for you. Is it a reasonable argument in favor of making the move anyway to point out that your opponent "almost never" moves his rook to h7?

>2) business model innovation (e.g. zero rating, etc) can have positive effects

This is difficult to disprove since the statement is incredibly weak. "Can have"??! ISPs have local monopolies everywhere they exist. Business model innovation for monopolies is exclusively going to be about charging people more money for the same service, and protecting your monopoly status. You could argue that this is a positive effect, but not to me, and probably not to this board.

>3) internet access has lots of room for improvement that will require investment, and tying the hands of the providers may prevent that.

They have no incentive to improve it as long as they maintain their monopoly status. People are already being charged as much money as they are willing to pay for their internet access, you can't improve the service and expect to extract more money from them.

In short, none of these points have any merit at all, and if you present them in the future, you should also explain why they don't make any sense.


I think some of these points have merit.

1) It was only illegal from 2015-2017, right?

2) I have multiple ISP options in my neighborhood in a small city. ISPs don’t have a monopoly everywhere.

3) If the ISPs abuse their power, the FCC can always switch them back to Title II.


1) no. From Inception of the Internet until 2005 they were regulated under Title II, from 2005 until 2010 there were loose rules on a case by case basis, from 2010 to 2015 there was the Original Open Internet Order as a direct result of Comcast Bad Actions, which were struck down by the Courts so in 2015 the ISP;s were moved back to Title II in order for the Open Internet Order to be Enforceable

2) Good for you, Are those options all wireless... Wireless is not a replacement for wired service. Further How about you think of Americans other than your self. As of 2015 under the current definition of broadband (25mpbs or higher) there are no ISPs at all in 30 percent of developed census blocks options for Fixed Broadband, 48% had 1 Option, only 3% had 3 or more choices...

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/08/us-br...

3) There is not IF, ISP have abused their power, and will do so again

https://www.freepress.net/blog/2017/04/25/net-neutrality-vio...

And that is only a Small part of the NN Violations, many of which are suspected but can not be proven


1) Thanks for the clarification.

2) Cable and DSL are the two I'm thinking of. (Though AT&T has just rolled out fiber-to-the-home, Comcast probably will too soon.) I'm currently paying Comcast $20/mo (intro-rate) for 16mbs. It's not broadband, but it's plenty for streaming Netflix, etc. I don't need broadband.

3) I'm also hoping that any abuses will encourage competition of ISPs.


2) Not if you want to stream 4K content, or do anything else while streaming HD Content...

And that is just with Today's Usage, the problem is one this type of service is ingrained it will be hard to get rid of it, so we will either never see the next new technology because the gate keepers will have killed it, or if we do it will be prohibitively expensive for the average consumer

One reason 4K is getting such good adoption is open internet.

Under a Closed Internet we are moving to we will see an EXTREME slow down in technology improvement.


As for 3), current market forces are clearly not sufficient to create good competition across most markets. It's extremely capital intensive to build a wired, to-the-home network.

Heck, look at Google Fiber. Even Google threw in the towel and said 'no more', basically.


> 1) It was only illegal from 2015-2017, right?

It was prohibited by regulation from 2010-2014 and 2015-2017 and contrary to non-regulation FCC policy enforced through case-by-case action from 2005-2010.

> 3) If the ISPs abuse their power, the FCC can always switch them back to Title II.

The ISPs did so repeatedly throughout the case-by-case enforcement period, which is why the FCC adopted the first regulatory package in 2010 (while this was finalized after case-by-case was struck down by the courts, the process was started earlier.)


Verizon has openly said they would discriminate by traffic type.

> In response to Judge Laurence Silberman’s line of questioning about whether Verizon should be able to block any website or service that doesn’t pay the company’s proposed tolls, Walker said: “I think we should be able to; in the world I'm positing, you would be able to.”

https://www.savetheinternet.com/blog/2013/09/18/verizons-pla...


Is Disney planning to start their own Netflix-like service or are they planning to just open the online Disney store where it will only have Disney content. The latter doesn't seem like a proper Netflix competitor.

Netflix serves more than their own home-grown content.


They're actually doing two services, one for sports based on their ownership of ESPN and another for TV/Movies.

Not sure if their plan is to license other content or just rely on their own. If it's the latter I don't think it will be much of a Netflix competitor, it will be more like HBO Go. Otherwise, if I was Netflix, I'd be very worried. Disney has some deep pockets!

I think they are set to launch in 2019.


> Not sure if their plan is to license other content or just rely on their own. If it's the latter I don't think it will be much of a Netflix competitor

All of the Netflix original Marvel shows alone may be a reason they can "win" just by taking all their balls and going home to a streaming service they control. They've already admitted that all of their current contracts with Netflix have been set to expire in 2019 precisely for this launch (and presumably a part of why this still unnamed service has such an explicit but two year away launch date).

That's just Marvel's relationship with Netflix. Factor in all of Star Wars, the Miramax back catalog, the Buena Vista back catalog, Pixar, ABC, and of course the Disney brand itself. (…and potentially now the entire film and TV catalog of 21st Century Fox is on the table to be controlled by Disney going forward.)


so who's gonna do "real news" now?


This purchase by Disney didn't acquire Fox News.


The merger would give them a majority stake in Hulu.


And NowTV and Sky Go in the UK.


Yes they announced that earlier this year.


IIRC they only announced that Disney content would be on the service.


Disney owns Lucas and Marvel and now 20th-Century Fox. "Disney content" just got a whole lot bigger.


If they're smart they will just build a backend delivery platform and APIs and make their franchised content available to anyone who wants to consume it.


I believe they already bought MLBAM - major league advanced media - to help solve some of the backend issues they would face.


In what way(s) is Disney not currently fully empowered to compete with Netflix?


They don't have a broad enough basket of content.

This is covered in the linked article, read around this quote:

> Moreover, not only does 21st Century Fox have a lot of content, it has content that is particularly great for filling out a streaming library: think The Simpsons, or Family Guy; according to estimates I’ve seen, in terms of external content Fox owns eight of Netflix’s most streamed shows


Yea, but they could invest in new content aside from 21st Century Fox... Netflix didn't build up their original content via acquisitions, they invested in content creation... Disney could do similar, especially with the various IPs they already control.


Sure, perhaps there's a difference to be drawn between "is in competition" and "is competitive".

Disney is currently able to _try_ to compete, but their new streaming service is not competitive due to a lack of content, and won't be for years if they try to build up their portfolio organically as Netflix did.

If they bought 21st Century Fox, then arguably they would be immediately competitive with Netflix.

This is a classic build vs. buy decision, where (regulatory concerns notwithstanding) it's often better to buy as a well-funded new entrant that's trying to catch up with an incumbent.


In the long term only content matters, not distribution. Netflix has built a very technically impressive distribution platform, but it is only as valuable as the content they have the rights to deliver.

It will only get easier and easier to make a distribution platform as the technologies required get cheaper, and the body of knowledge of how to do it grows.

Disney's content library is already far more valuable than Netflix's and acquiring Fox only increases the gap.


This is one of my problems with Copyright law.

If we as a society are going to grant someone a monopoly over an idea. Then they should have to allow distribution via multiple channels and not restrict the content to just approved or exclusively owned distributions channels

I should be able to watch the shows I want on what ever streaming services I choose to use, be it netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.

One should not have to subscribe to all of them just to get access to a single show, or single movie they want that is "exclusive" to that platform.

It seems Streaming services are going the exact way Cable Channels did, only more costly...

We are quickly coming to the point where you have to have 6 or 7 $10-$15 per month subscriptions to several different providers to get Sports, Movies, and TV Shows you want...

At that price point you might as well just subscribe to cable again...

This will lead to a HUGE uptick in piracy


If copyright were a more reasonable term (say a 20 year term with registration for a 20 year renewal, which would allow most works to be available quickly, but also allow creators to control their works for the majority of their lifetime), then there would be less of an issue.

e.g. the early seasons of MASH would now be public domain under this rule, so they would probably be available on every single streaming service, as would the first two generations of Disney features with the 3rd generation starting to become available at the end of the 20s.

And this doesn't even capture the opportunity cost of all the works we don't have because of long copyright terms. Under today's rules, Tchaikovsky's estate would have held the copyright for his ballet still in 1959 and the Disney version could not have been made.


NN roll back parry’s piracy.


I watch far more original content from Netflix and Amazon than Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox. Disney's market cap is only double that of Netflix. Considering Netflix doesn't own theme parks or run a merchandise machine, I'd say they are more well positioned with content than you portray.


Well, Stratechery has been shilling for the industry for quite a while now, on most major corporate issues.


> Stratechery has been shilling for the industry

"Shilling" implies, perhaps to the point of requiring, monetary compensation for publishing certain views. The only people I know who pay for Stratchery use it to invest in start-ups. Maybe there is something shady going on. But reducing any argument you disagree with to shilling isn't productive discussion.


> But reducing any argument you disagree with to shilling isn't productive discussion.

Neither is referencing that site on issues.

Disney has tried streaming before and failed, not because Netflix had locked them out of content, but because their service sucked.

You can draw a parallell to Steam and all competing game market platforms for PC, they all had just as much opportunity, and a lot of them lock content only to their own platform, yet they're all worse.

I don't disagree with the fact that large competing platforms are good for keeping the market competitive, but that buying and locking in content instead of providing a better service is the wrong way of going about it, when you can't compete on service.

And as for Stratechery, I don't have access to their books, I can only read a pattern into their recent history of posts on the industry, and it's not good.


True, if only there was any sane anti-trust regulation in the last 20 years.


They tried - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Cor....

The findings were 110% correct. The ultimate settled "remedy" was a joke.


Antitrust regulations should kill google and facebook, but they’re not. In my opinion those two are much bigger fish to fry than two movie companies.


I don't think Google has any plans to acquire Facebook, have you heard differently?


I think he meant breaking up Google and Facebook respectively rather than halting a merger.


Every new day is a day that puts the Gilded Age to shame. I'm scared for the future.


I wonder what would happen if Google was divided into a bunch of smaller but cooperative regional search engines/datacenters.

Would that be better or worse for competition?


I would like that. A Google US competing against a Google Germany competing against a Google India etc for the global search market.


Disney is only interested in the creative/film assets; broadcast distribution and news/sports are being spun off.


Disney is also developing their own streaming service. They see the writing on the wall. In 20 years, broadcast and cable will be dead. Probably within 10.

They can roll their own streaming service (because there isn't any decent ones to buy). But content is expensive.

If the launch with Disney&Fox content while denying Netflix any Disney and Fox content, they'll have a shot at surviving.


After the merger, Disney will be the majority owner of Hulu.

https://www.recode.net/2017/12/14/16771712/hulu-disney-acqui...


The "big five" studios decreasing to the "big four" is not a good thing either. I feel like people have decided that because they really want an Avengers/X-Men movie (I want one too), it's okay that one of the largest companies on the planet is buying out one of their largest competitors.


I like Disney, obviously they make great movies, but I don’t want _everything_ to be made by Disney. Personally I think their superhero movies have gotten much too formulaic, and I’m worried for what’s going to happen to Star Wars after they keep putting them out every year. We need more creators out there trying new things, and it doesn’t help that Disney wants to collect every recognizable character.


If Thor: Ragnarok and early reviews of The Last Jedi are any indication, though, they're not afraid to experiment and break the formula. Especially as the brand recognition increases, they've taken and are starting to take some big risks as it pertains to blockbusters.

The real out-of-the-ordinary films are always going to come from studios like A24. We'll never get a 150 million art film (Blade Runner 2049 notwithstanding), but it's a little much to expect that.


Most consider that there are 6 “majors” in Hollywood. Disney, Fox, Warners, Paramount, and Sony.

Which one did you exclude by stating there are only five?


...You just listed five. Although you are right, there are currently six. (Universal is the other one.)


Fox was for sale. Either Disney or Comcast was going to end up with it.


broadcast distribution and news/sports are being spun off

Is that official? Disney has bet (and lost) a lot of money on sports broadcast over the past few years. I could see them trying to consolidate at least Fox sports into their current bet on sports.


It's in the top line of the press release:

https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/walt-disney-company-acquire...


The US network is being spun off.

But for instance they will own Sky - the biggest commercial broadcaster in Europe, and the UK's second biggest ISP...


In addition to this, Sky Sports is pretty much the only game in town in the UK when it comes to sports. Sky hold an insane amount of power in football, to the point where if they want a game to be played at a different time/day the fixture will change. The sheer amount of money in the Premier League today is down to Sky.

This is a linear market that I think Disney will be really interested in. It's an area where Netflix haven't entered (to my knowledge), and it's an area that no one can seem to do well.


BT Sport has made some in-roads, but Sky is definitely a dominate player.


IIRC, it's the only only pay-TV provider available in large parts of the UK (cable TV is only available in about 60% of the country last time I checked).


In the press release they indicate FS1 / FS2 will stay with the broadcast news and broadcast networks. They will keep the regional sports networks.


Yeah, RSNs are a different game. Sports in general is in decline; the RSNs are likely included to fill out ESPN's content deals to build a national sports streaming service. Things like Big 10 network have enough restrictions that the content could not be rebroadcast on ESPN or separate services.


Slightly ironic that ESPN itself has significantly scaled back baseball coverage/studio shows this year, yet they now own RSNs who have rights for 16 (by my count) MLB teams


They'd have to then avoid anticompetitive attention due to owning ESPN, though.


But think of the x-men mobies


Now they're gonna get worse.

Before that, we could at least hope to see a good movie like Logan. Now if Marvel does them, we know they're going to be mediocre like all other Marvel movies, with bad jokes every 87 seconds.


Everyone's definition of "good movies" differs, and that's excellent. I, for one, consider the average MCU movie to be a step above even very good movies like Logan and some of the recent X-Men titles.

From a geek standpoint, I can't wait for these universes to be merged.


I disagree. I mean, sure I'll watch a Disney/Marvel movie, but they all their movies tend to be samey. And now DC wants to copy Marvel...

All in all, I can't wait for Star Wars Episode CCXXXIV...


I seriously hope Disney allows the Fox brand to exist for more mature/darker properties. It would be fatiguing to keep seeing PG-13 MCU movies while Deadpool rots on the vine.


I don't see why not. Look at the Netflix stuff, which is already owned by Disney/Marvel Studios.


Looking forward to seeing all Marvel characters live in the same movie universe.


Can't believe we've lost the copyright battle so hard.


Neither of the two articles even mention the Disney-21st Century Fox deal.

What specifically about this deal should be of concern for antitrust regulators?


For one, it would give the resulting entity a majority stake in Hulu and control over a lot of content that they could potentially yank from the likes of Netflix. It's also the default position of regulators that horizontal mergers are bad for competition, so I'd expect a fight regardless of the ultimate basis [1].

[1] https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...


I think the argument that content itself comprises a monopoly is a tough sell since content is something that can be demonstrably created by lots of parties (Netflix, Disney, Amazon, Apple, NBC, YouTube, etc.). In fact in today's environment it would be nearly impossible to form a monopoly because content creation and distribution has been so democratized.

If they merged with Netflix and controlled pretty much all distribution, then that might be a more compelling argument, but still difficult.

It seems to me that people throw the term monopoly around way too freely. Two major content distributors in today's environment is not destroying Netflix's ability to compete. When Microsoft controlled the OS of just about every desktop in the world and wouldn't allow competition in the browser space, that was a monopoly. When Standard Oil owned every oil field in the United States and the gas stations, that was a monopoly.


Is the majority stake in Hulu really an antitrust concern? Streaming services are pretty competitive and Netflix has plenty of their own exclusive content.


The content ownership example that I provided is absolutely not enough to merit blocking the merger on its own, just one example of consolidated power that will likely come up in the event of a hearing.


Is that ever the standard used? I don't believe the concerns of the customers, other companies, and definitely not employees are ever considered when evaluating antitrust violations. Normally they're looking at whether the marketplace would be reduced to a monopoly or whether non-insurance companies are using abusive tactics, right?


King's extending the kingdom's library.

This sounds like a great investment for the upcoming streaming platform.

Much of 21CF content is already dubbed or subtitled. But Netflix still has the advantage of being the early pioneer, already accessible in a plethora of countries.


It seems to me that, given tech-side developments in the entertainment industry, increased density on the content side makes perfect sense. I'd be more concerned about a pair of CDNs merging than a pair of movie houses.


You must live in a constant state of fear. Akamai literally buys every up and coming CDN once they gain double digit market share. Limelight is the only real holdout, Fastly hasn't been hit by the Akamai lawyers yet (which is always step 1 in their playbook), and they are waiting for Cloudflare to collapse under their own business model.

https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/akamai-technologies/...


Right. I'm saying that, if you care about "monopoly power in consumer home entertainment," you'd almost certainly have to rank edge network consolidation over movie studio consolidation. Judging by the number of animated logos before any current movie starts, there seem to be millions of these studios!


For Marvel Fanboy it might not


True! Hopefully they wake up to kill this deal.


Why?


Because that's what antitrust laws are for.

Lack of competition is bad for consumers, bad for the economy, bad for everything... except for the owners of the monopoly.


The argument they'll most likely make is that the merger will encourage competition by allowing them to compete with Netflix, Amazon, etc. in an evolving landscape that they're trying to keep up with (i.e. "if you don't let us do this, those guys are going to take over the world"). Similar arguments have been made for the AT&T/Time Warner merger and we'll see if it carries any weight when they face of with the DOJ in March. Not a perfect proxy given that one is horizontal and the other vertical, but may be a helpful indicator nonetheless.


As long as Disney can take Star Wars: ANH and X-Men licensing rights away from Fox, then fine.


Yes, nobody wants good movies like Logan!

Know what we need more? Mediocre movies like the ones Marvel have been making. Know what's better than a good movie? A shallow movie full of forced jokes.

Now we can see the Fantastic Four facing space pirates that sleep with pacifiers in their mouths, maybe hugging teddy bears to. That would be a good movie!


The argument that seems to be espoused in this comment, and varous others[0], is that Disney only wants to make "dumbed down" traditional US-style children's / "family" movies and therefore will turn any company they buy to that purpose. Several of the hosts on pop culture/entertainment industry podcasts I listen to have said the same thing.

However, it seems to me (and at least Peter Sciretta at SlashFilm Daily has expressed a similar sentiment) that this would not necessarily be Disney's strategy for Fox. As was recently pointed out on the SlashFilm podcast, Disney already has so many subsidiaries making family-friendly movies (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, etc.) that they can hardly find enough sufficiently spaced-out weekends on the calendar to release them all. Movies like Logan, and shows like those on FX and FXX, have been critically acclaimed and financially successful. Would it make more sense for Disney to turn Fox into yet another family-friendly content company to compete with all their other family-friendly content companies that are already potentially cannibalizing each other, or use it to expand into a new adult-oriented niche with existing critically acclaimed and financially successful content?

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15922177 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15922087 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15923597 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15922605 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15922925


It's entertainment. Why should anything other than being good for shareholders matter? It's not an essential goods company like say food or medicine


Disney having more money and power to lobby against sane copyright laws is a negative for every citizen and really the world


It's not like the money being split between Disney and Twenty-First Century reduced the amount being used to lobby against sane copyright laws; the two firms were perfectly aligned on that issue.

There are others where they might have different interests, but not that.


Yes it does. Because when they're separate companies they run into free rider problems when they try to coordinate.

This is why if you have one person bargaining with five the one holds a much better bargaining position.


Everyone pours money into the MPAA which lobbies on their behalf. The reason every major studio supports the MPAA rating system is because the $25k/film fees mostly go to lobbying, concealed as a cost of doing business.


I don't think it's bad that Disney protects things like Mickey Mouse and all of their old IPs. It's not just shareholders, there's a lot of people whose jobs depend on Disney being able to make money from these historic IPs. And I think it's fine that they keep it, it doesn't really hurt anyone.

The problem is the easiest way to protect this is by having Congress extend the copyright law duration on all copyrighted works. There are possibly other mechanisms that would work better at letting un-used IP go to public domain (and Disney would likely be fine with this), but it's complicated and I think that would require a political movement to get started and nobody cares enough to do it.


Letting only unused IP go to public domain is completely contrary to the stated goals of the constitution.

To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

Much of our creative works and culture are driven by building on top of what came before. The asinine length of copyright we have today means we have to wait entire generations before works are available to adapt and build upon, which is extremely hypocritical wrt Disney since most of their classic movies were based on public domain books.


Yes. Any intellectual property should always have to meet the "test" described in the Constitution: "does this promote the progress of science and useful arts?", and secondarily, "Are these rights being secured to authors and inventors?"

Copyright terms that allow 5 generations of descendants to live off continuing royalties while the property rots are not beneficial (I am not anti-inheritance, I just don't think it helps anyone for exclusive monopoly rights to last so long). Extensive copyright powers that make _everything_ that gets digitized subject to draconian copyright protection are not beneficial. Arcane legal processes and astronomical legal costs blocking the useful application of the small amount of recourse available in these laws is a travesty.

Should companies whose primary function is pressing "go" on the DVD assembly line be competitive with massive, serious logistical operations that deliver necessities like food and energy? Is it possible we are rewarding companies who invent cute characters a little too much?

Do note that copyright is not a natural thing; it exists only due to governmental fiat, the government's threat to use force to stop someone from drawing Mickey Mouse in an unflattering pose. We are so protective of "free speech", yet are not concerned when we see government goons hauling people off for offending BigCo?


There was a time where I was like "Just let there be an exception for Disney. They're going to fight tooth and nail for their IP to be in perpetuity and win, so just let that be an exception, and have sane copyright lengths elsewhere."

But they keep buying up alllllll the popular IP....so that kind of doesn't really work now.


Maybe we need a compromise.

Should we let companies keep some percentage of their IP out of the public domain?


No. The US constitution was a lot more forward thinking than people give it credit for, securing works for a LIMITED TIME is explicitly stated and there's a reason for that. Disney in particular has made a killing releasing copyrighted products based off public domain, and it extends far beyond the obvious ones like Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, etc.

We have ALWAYS lived in a culture where reusing older works in newer ones has been a driving force for creativity. I just went to a play a friend helped put on a couple weeks ago called Heddatron, a mashup of Hedda Gabler, a telling of Ibsen's life, comedy and robots. The whole thing made absolutely no sense to me, but it was amusing as hell to watch. Hedda Gabler came out in 1890, if our current copyright laws applied to his work it would still be under protection and there's a good chance it would have never come to light.

We don't need to grant MORE protections to IP, we need to severly reduce the copyright terms back to sane levels.


My own family had a somewhat big creation (Winnie the Pooh). At some point, the copyright was moved to a company, that was then bought out by Disney, (Slesinger. It's actually a more complicated story).

We can't release it into the public domain, and we can't allow anyone to make derivatives, 50 years later. We even tried to prevent Disney from continuing to create new derivatives, but lost that case.

A family legacy can't be reclaimed, or preserved, because of copyright extensions.


The reason for the existence of copyright is that authors can receive compensation for their work, to incentivize creation in a new world where copying costs almost nothing ("why would I work writing a book when anybody with a press can just copy me?"). Similar to patents. But it seems people forget this.

Disney won't _die_ if their early characters become public domain. If they're hurt it will be very slowly, with enough time for jobs to shift.

And it's not clear that copyright is necessary for creativity. In some ways it can hindrance sometimes. See the case of the fashion industry https://www.ted.com/talks/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashi...

I guess people somehow think that only the lowest quality versions of public domain works will be popular, when the opposite is frequently the case. Like it happened, for example, with Disney versions of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Which is rather ironic: Disney created an empire in big part thanks to public domain.


It's worse in some respects in UK, we lost the right to format shift, it was briefly legal and the media corps quashed it. We don't have Fair Use (but a much more restrictive Fair Dealing).

So iTunes having CD ripping ability is facilitating infringement according to UK law, I wish they'd try and prosecute that!

It's not enough to pay creators to view their work anymore. Copyright legislation lets works get locked up eg by DRM and formats falling out of use; this subverts the creators part of the contract of copyright, we only grant it on the basis that works enter the public domain in a timely manner ... without that copyright should be void.

Meanwhile big businesses like Google get a special exception on "orphaned works" ...


Copyright is essentially a restriction on speech. You can't represent any figure or image bearing even a slight resemblance to Mickey Mouse unless The Walt Disney Co. approves of said representation.

It may not be directly life and death, but the negative ramifications of excessive copyright monopolies run deep, on both the culture and the market. The only people it's good for are the entrenched interests who are trying to milk the same good idea from 90 years ago, and want as much money as possible to crush upstart competitive threats, regardless of the value that the market ascribes to those competitors.

In tech alone copyright has killed a non-trivial number of good companies. One could argue that the internet is fundamentally anti-copyright, as in the words of Bruce Schneier, "trying to make digital bits non-copiable is like trying to make water not wet". The internet is based on rapid, exact duplication of information and its instantaneous worldwide transmission.

Copyright law as written has already been repeatedly and grievously misapplied to weaponize this detail of computer networks against People Who Can't Afford To Pay Munger Tolles & Olson One Thousand Dollars An Hour to Harass Competitors. Remember, these laws fundamentally benefit the large players who have the literal millions of dollars in spare cash resources to pick these fights, at the expense of those who don't.

It's ironic that we all act like net neutrality is the front lines for the fight for internet freedom, when it's really copyright and network access laws like the CFAA. Could this have anything to do with powerful VCs and popular media interests (yes, including online outlets like Google and Facebook) leaning heavily on outlandish copyright enforcement for their own competitive edge?


With respect to Mickey Mouse specifically, the only reason anyone cares about Mickey Mouse is because he is associated with Walt Disney Co. He's more like an animated logo.


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

There is a separate section of law designed to protect such brand associations called "trademark". As long as Mickey Mouse is a registered trademark (which he is), TWDC will retain the ability to stop uses of the mark that would be deceptive or misleading.

Trademark protections are much weaker than copyright protections and apply only to commerce within the pre-defined areas in which the trademark is registered. Disney would lose the ability to lock up anyone who published an image of Mickey Mouse that they didn't like, but would still be able to protect its brand, as long as the public associated Mickey Mouse with TWDC in the relevant areas of commerce. This should be more than sufficient to stop, e.g., Universal Studios from putting up Mickey Mouse banners at their competing theme parks, implying an endorsement or association with Disney.

What it may not stop is a use of Mickey Mouse that doesn't imply association with or endorsement by the trademark's owner. For example, under copyright law, Universal cannot create a "Punch Mickey" attraction. However, one may be able to argue that such an attraction is legal when Mickey is only protected by trademark law, because then the only uses that are barred are those that are likely to confuse or mislead the consumer. I'm sure this would be litigated out if it actually happened and some judges are definitely stodgy enough to say that any use of someone else's trademark automatically rises to the level of misleading consumers (and we should not discount the rarely-discussed incentive that judges have to rule in favor of powerful interests, nor should we pretend that we don't see that on a regular basis), but under copyright there is no real way to argue that this is non-infringing.

The main point being that Disney would no longer be able to use the FBI as Rent-A-Cops to stop any use or depiction of Mickey Mouse that they disliked, under the auspices of "promoting the progress of science and useful arts". People who wanted to make their own unofficial Mickey Mouse content or merchandise would be free to do so without threat of arrest or lawsuit, so long as they did so in a manner that was not misleading about the association with Disney.


It's not just shareholders, there's a lot of people whose jobs depend on Bitcoin/Tesla/UBI/Cloud failing. And I think it's fine that they keep it, it doesn't really hurt anyone.


It's culture. Why should a single entity have such overlarge control over the creative works that lead and inspire all of us?


This is the biggest problem I have. Disney already has plenty of money to lobby Congress, taking over another studio won’t change that - but we’ll be consolidating more and more IP’s that we love under a behemoth that can go wrong in so many ways.


Well, it seems to lend itself towards monopolization for no economic reason, as can be seen at the renteers dominating scientific publications.


> works that lead and inspire all of us?

Here we go, gentlemen. The cattle take as their own the pablum the owners feed them.

(Cheers.)


To the extent culture is based on commercial dreck, it doesn’t deserve to be protected.


Then there should be provisions in the copyright law to allow the govt to suspend copyright when entertainment becomes part of the culture, similar to how some patent protections are suspended in India when a medicine is determined to be essential


There already is one right in the Constitution: "limited time". Originally copyright in the US only lasted 14-28 years. Copyright is supposed to expire quickly enough that important parts of culture will not be tied up by copyright.


People didn't like this comment, but I think it's fair enough, at least from a capitalist perspective. The company is doing what it's supposed to do and the system is working as it should.

(This is one of the reasons why I oppose capitalism)


Kind of. Depends on what part of capitalism you're referring to.

Because monopolies greatly reduce or limit competition, and competition is the big force that makes capitalism work properly.

Capitalism without competition is no different from Communism or a lot of other systems in which one party rules supreme.


I've always held that the extremes of corporate power look a lot more like feudalism than anything else.

The main difference being that corporations divide up the different experiences of life, where fiefdoms divided the land. In the end we have absolute rulers in their own private domains who only have to pay a small tribute and lip service to the nation they are nominally aligned with.


In theory Communism is rule by the proletariat, monopolistic Capitalism is rule by a very few super-rich shareholders/owners. They seem like markedly different situations to me.

Can you explain further?


Most publicly avowed communist countries actually adopted State Socialism. And in practice, these systems of state-owned industry ended up under consolidated control of oligarchic regimes. Some communistic critics of these Marxist–Leninists regimes even called them State Capitalist. It is not uncommon to refer to "Communism" and mean some form of despotic, top-down state control of industry.

Given that revised definition of "Communism," a greatly consolidated, monopolistic Capitalism, with increased favoritism by the state for leading firms, does start to seem similar in some interesting ways.


When entertainment agents are too powerful, it leads to more and more draconian intellectual property law.


So along with Disney pulling all their titles from Netflix for their own streaming service, I guess the FX content will be next to go from Netflix.


Oh it's crazy how much stuff Disney can pull off Netflix, I don't know if they will, because it's in their interest to have some stuff accessible over more than one place, but they own ABC (Lost, Castle, Firefly, etc), ESPN, Marvel, LucasArts, now Fox and their assets, not to mention they distribute on behalf of many publishers (Dreamworks for example), they would probably clear more than half of Netflix's content if they pulled everything.


Almost seems like Netflix knew what they were doing when they started funding a bunch of original content. I remember when people thought they were being silly.


"The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us." - 2013, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix

https://gizmodo.com/5980103/netflix-the-goal-is-to-become-hb...

Edit: He just got the company wrong.


Kind of like how Google made Android free to head off Microsoft, not realizing that Apple would be their mobile competition.


Google did make Android free to head off Microsoft, but it was already very clear Apple was the primary competition. They were trying to take Microsoft’s place in the new Duopoly.


From my understanding Android's launch was delayed because they didn't know how amazing the first iPhone was before its release. That seems to me they were taking it seriously as they were competing with Blackberry at the time if I am correct.


The big 3 were BlackBerry, Windows Mobile & Symbian (Nokia)

Android was built a lot like a BlackBerry/Window Mobile competitor in its early stages. Nobody knew Apple was making a phone, there were heavy rumors of course, but people weren't expecting the impact it would have.

Google obviously had to know something about it, as they provided maps apis for the first iPhone. But Apple probably kept as much secret as they could.

But none of them were really prepared for iOS's leap in touchscreen UIs. Android was the fastest to adopt, took about 2-3 years still though. BlackBerry & Windows Mobile waited to late for a reboot and Symbian just died silently.


> Android was the fastest to adopt, took about 2-3 years still though

Is that true though? The first iPhone released in June 2007, the first Android phone (already with proper touch interfaces) came out a year leater, in September 2008.


Yes that is correct, the G1 came out already a year later. But it was still very clearly inferior to the iPhone, the UI was slow, things like scrolling lists was laggy and unresponsive, and no multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom for maps/photos/webbrowser. IMHO Android really started to catch up around the time Nexus S and then Galaxy Nexus came out.


Ah Symbian! I fondly remember my E62, the first mobile device I had with a real OS.


Exactly. Imagine where Netflix would be without it's original content at this point.

Initially, I thought it was just a kind of frustration. For the cost to acquire rights to shows, you could just create your own original content that you own outright, and they did just that.

But now I see that even if the cost of acquiring other series were dirt cheap, the negotiating posture of companies offering the content to Netflix could change at any moment.


But didn't Netflix make the worst move possible?

They developed a heap of MARVEL original content, that Netflix funded, which now Disney is able to pull from them.


I would hope that Netflix negotiated a licensing agreement that prevented Disney from just pulling their rights to the shows they funded.


Current reports are that Netflix's contract rights to the Marvel original shows is set to expire in 2019, just in time for Disney's still unnamed service to launch. (…and possibly one of the reasons it isn't launching until 2019.)


Disney also gets controlling interest in Hulu through this deal. All around bad news for Netflix.


Just as an FYI the Dreamworks distribution deal wasn't renewed in 2016 so they're 'on their own' as it were. I believe the two companies are still friendly but don't directly have the distribution deal in place any longer.


They will starting next year. They're building their own streaming service competitor

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/disney-will-pull-its-movies-...


I'm pretty sure Firefly is Fox.


Isnt lucasarts the game studio


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars:_The_Clone_Wars_(200... is on netflix right now. I think it was made by lucas arts.


No, that was made by Lucasfilm Animation, a division of Lucasfilm. LucasArts is the name of the video game developer and publisher.


Just got excited .. nope, not on my Netflix (UK).


You're completely right, I got arts and film mixed up


They will.


How is it that this is so much less anti-competitive than bundling an OS with a web browser?


Really makes that seem like a simpler time when the concern of the day was that your OS came with an integrated browser.


You make it sound like having a single proprietary browser as the standard for browsing the web is a minor concern. Can you imagine if nowadays anybody who's not using IE/Edge was a 2nd class citizen on the web, not able to access most content? Remember the days of flash? For one thing it would've hurt massively the development of non-MS smartphones.

Nowadays Chrome seems to be the new IE but at least they're a bit more open overall. I have absolutely no doubt that MS would've turn the web into their proprietary playground if given the chance.


> Nowadays Chrome seems to be the new IE but at least they're a bit more open overall.

eeeeeh

"Google Chrome is required to run the new Google Earth. Please try this link in Chrome. Learn more."

"Launching the new Allo Web, only available in Chrome."

"Launching Google Inbox Beta, only available in Chrome."

Granted, Allo and Inbox and the new YouTube design are now available in Firefox, but with artificial performance limitations. Also, even versions of Firefox that support U2F are unable to log into Google with it, because Google sniffs the User Agent.

Additionally, half of Google’s mobile websites are unusable, or haven’t been updated since before the 2013 redesign, on Firefox mobile.

"Best Viewed in Internet Explorer" is back in full swing.


Let's not forget when Google forced Mobile IE to switch to the WAP site for Google Maps even though maps.google.co.uk worked perfectly, then blocked Microsoft's YouTube app and refused to help create one that worked properly just to punish Windows Phone users for picking the wrong platform.


well Microsoft makes Android handset makers pay enormous sums of money for years to license some "software patents" they hold. Not very classy move either.


And when Google a few weeks ago decided to ban all Amazon Kindle’s from accessing their websites, by banning any browser with that User Agent string.


Can only use YouTubeTV on Chrome as well.


Because Microsoft also strong-armed PC manufacturers into not adding Netscape to the computers they sold, for the sole recognized purpose of protecting the Win32 API barrier of entry into the OS business.


Because Microsoft, for all their bad acting, didn't have a hand up the backside of enough senators to use as sockpuppets.

Disney does. They write our IP laws.


The year is 2928. Machines have taken over. Disney lobby-bots are still arguing, "1000 years should definitely still be considered a 'limited time' under the Constitution."


In exchange for 100 years+ of copyright protection we should have FRAND licensing terms. Right now, the public gets nothing.


Most of the FX Networks-owned content has been gone from Netflix for a while; it's been on Hulu or Prime Video.


Sadly Hulu is only available in the U.S., although I find that I can rent/buy from google a lot of content that isn't available on Netflix.


At one point you start wondering why you pay for Netflix.


I just feel like supporting the company that gave us an alternative to media riddled with commercial breaks and having to deal with TV providers.


This is exactly why Netflix is banking on original content going forward.


They have a lot of great original content. In particular they're the leader in stand up comedy.


Quite a bit of FX content (including IASIP) left Netflix this month due to expiring contracts. Convenient timing for the Disney deal.


Seems like a next step would be just buying Netflix with threats of pulling?

Maybe Netflix can survive on its own OC, which is growing each time I load it up.


Isn't a lot of that top tier stuff based on Marvel characters owned by Disney?


That is why Netflix bought Millarworld earlier this year.


l.


Predicted by Matt Groening

https://goo.gl/images/pPPy6o


So what are the next movie franchises to get Disney-ized, like they did to Star Wars? All the super hero stuff, I get, but that's not the only thing that 21st Century makes is it?


> So what are the next movie franchises to get Disney-ized, like they did to Star Wars?

The Simpsons Cinematic Universe


Starting with origin story films for each character.


A self-contained spinoff "Shelbyville One"


Fox owns a bunch of production rights that they haven't been using, especially Marvel. E.g Hulk, X-Men etc.


Avatar


I, for one, welcome our new mouse-eared overlords. /s

At this rate, I wouldn't be too surprised if Disney ends up buying WB and a rather awkward Marvel/DC crossover is gonna happen on the big screen.


So, will the Fox fanfare return to all Star Wars films, past and present, from now on?


The Uber Nerd in me says the purchase was to secure rights to Star Wars: ANH and the fanfare.

This will also open up the doors for a complete unedited despecialized edition of the original trilogy, not some bad laserdisc scan.


Oh good. Surrendering the entire mythos of the English speaking world to a single, domineering company opposed to freedom of speech and information is totally worth a cleaner copy of Star Wars.


Aw, come now. All those public domain fairytales and legends were struggling to gain an audience in the contemporary media landscape without a company willing to take the risk of developing a new presentation and monetizing distribution - with the mere caveat of trapping all those dusty ideas in permanent copyright. We're lucky that our new shared stories will never be I in danger of fading into unpopularity due to copyright not being able to guarantee a framework for for-profit distribution.


Serious question: why do people want this so badly? Just nostalgia? (Too young to have see the OT movies in theaters, so I don't have that)

For me, sticking the cheesy fox logo and fanfare at the beginning of the movies would make them worse, not better.


Another interesting tidbit:

John Williams put the opening theme to star wars in the same key as the Fanfare (b-flat major)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_Century_Fox#Logo


He wrote the fanfare too (the one that comes before Star Wars, which was an adaptation of the original).


> cheesy

That's the point. Star Wars was/is an homage to Flash Gordon / Buck Rogers -type serial pulps, and the moviehouse feel of that 20th Century Fox fanfare can't be beat.


People want a re-release of the unaltered OT.


Sure, the actual movie part - but the 20th century fox fanfare at the beginning? (I have heard nostalgia expressed specifically for that)


I don't know what you're referring to but I think people want the version where Han shoots first and less of the CGI enhancements that Lucas put into the film over the years.


The new thing that worries me about the deal is what might happen to Hulu? Now Disney owns 66% and Comcast owns 33%. Will Comcast take its content off of Hulu once the consent decree expires?


Maybe there will be a consolidation and some crappy repetitive movies will go away? I think these businesses are overvalued. What happens when consumers get sick of the super hero genre?

EDIT: for whoever down-voted - that wasn't a sarcastic question. Honest question of what happens when the main products lose popularity? If there is a downturn in interest in that, will they get their $50B back?


An interesting datum is that movie ticket sales are actually down, big time. [1] Movies hit their peak, in tickets sold, way back in 2002. We're down 26% since then. Factor in population increases which should have resulted in a roughly proportional increase in ticket sales and it's shocking how bad movies are doing. But record breaking sales...? That's gross receipts or tickets_sold x cost_per_ticket. Ticket sales are dropping fast, but the price per ticket is increasing even faster. Some masterful grasp of supply and demand there...

Movie companies seem to be in completely denial about the change in quality being the source of their problems. This goes to explain many otherwise bizarre behaviors such as the cinemas absolute obsession with piracy even though most studies show it has at worst a modest effect. That's actually perhaps the thing I find most ridiculous about mega corporations. There seems to be this complete lack of self accountability. When reception or sales are poor they will blame absolutely everything under the sun, except their own decisions.

It's like how in the video game industry there was this belief that game review ratings had a causal relationship to increased sales. So the games industry completely gamed ratings and the correlation all but entirely disappeared. Go figure, games actually being good was the confounding variable. Who could have guessed?

[1] - https://www.the-numbers.com/market/


> Movie companies seem to be in completely denial about the change in quality being the source of their problems

Don't you think on demand internet distribution is the true source of the problem? Record sales were at their peak in 2002 too.

https://kyigt1bcans3ofli94di0kch-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-...


Streaming services like Netflix didn't even exist, as streaming services, until sometime around 2007. And prior to that the vast majority of people would not have had the hardware/connection to be able to stream effectively in any case. Movies had already long since been in decline. Similarly, the time line is also another bit of evidence that piracy is also not the problem.


>So the games industry completely gamed ratings and the correlation all but entirely disappeared. Go figure, games actually being good was the confounding variable. Who could have guessed?

I don't too much attention to video games - certainty not the sales figures and review score end of things - but this sounds really interesting. Has anyone written a detailed account of this?


I don't think a greater concentration than ever of movie studios is going to lead to creative flourishing, no.


I feel like it could lead to more independent studios popping up, but I’m an optimist.


I'd think the independent studios would be less able to gain a foothold in this scenario.


I feel like the consolation leaves a hole in the market, particularly considering Disney’s conservative tastes in movies they allow to be made in their name.


But how do you get into theaters who don't want to upset, after all, the guys with the blockbusters?


> crappy repetitive movies will go away

looks at list of upcoming Marvel movies

In seriousness though, I think there is 0 harm in multiple studios releasing competing movies. It should mean more variety and it’s not like you have to watch them all.


I’m personally excited for the crossover potential. The marvel comics were full of crossovers, writing standalone movies kinda does the source material a disservice imho.

In terms of quality, Disney seems to be doing the best job when it comes to super hero movies. If one company was to have the movie rights to all the marvel characters I’d say Disney is the best option.


They'll make westerns.


It'd be an improvement.


Wrestling pictures!


My knee jerk reaction here was "ugh, more consolidation of the media by US mega corporations." But then I noted that Fox is owned by News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal and New York Post.


Fox continues to own News and Sports. However rumors are that Murdoch may also be shopping other parts of what remains. Disney gets Movies including Avatar and XMen, etc, 300 other channels, production studios, controlling stake in Hulu and for some bizarre historical reason, now own the rights to Star Wars IV, A New Hope.


> and for some bizarre historical reason, now own the rights to Star Wars IV, A New Hope

These were distribution rights, some of which were going to expire in 2020 anyway.[1] So now we may finally get some official unspecialized Star Wars.

[1]: http://www.slashfilm.com/20th-century-fox-still-owns-rights-...


no, Fox OWNED A New Hope, and it says so in the article you posted


and Dow Jones, HarperCollins, realtor.com etc. In the UK, 20 radio stations and The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times. In Australia, The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and a hundred others.


I'm kind of torn on whether this is the same as other media mergers like Comcast-Universal or the upcoming Sinclair-Tribune mergers. I think mergers of news and broadcast outlets are generally bad but the bulk of what Disney is buying is intellectual property. Can owning tons of trademarks and copyrights ever be considered a monopoly? I am uncomfortable with one company owning Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Aliens, Predator, and all the other things. But if they make crappy movies then people will just watch something else.


Media properties are natural monopolies thanks to copyright anyway so, sans quality, it really doesn't matter who owns them.

On the other hand it's definitely possible to have a monopoly on distribution but good luck arguing that it's possible to have a monopoly on art.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligopsony

In U.S. publishing, five publishers known as the Big Five account for about two-thirds of books published.[1] ...

Thus authors have fewer truly independent outlets for their work. This simultaneously depresses advances paid to authors and creates pressure for authors to cater to the tastes of the publishers in order to ensure publication, reducing viewpoint diversity.


So now we can finally get X-Men characters in MVCI (Marvel vs Capcom Infinite)


Wolverine (and others) have been around since the very first MvC. Heck, the direct precursor to MVC was X-Men vs. Street Fighter.


We might get Wolverine at the Avengers movies like in the cartoon series.


I have a hard time believing this will be approved. Given how much regulatory scrutiny the AT&T/Time Warner merger is under as a vertical merger, it would be wildly inconsistent to then approve a horizontal merger of this size, even if the AT&T/Time Warner merger ultimately goes through.


Awesome, two large media companies becoming one giant media company. This should concern everyone.


The deal might be quite good for my country. Fox operates as Star Channels in India. They are major entertainment and sports provider. They also have a streaming service 'Hotstar'. Hopefully will see more content on the streaming service.


Wow, Disney didn’t ask them to divest FX, which means they’re knowingly acquiring It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia among other content they’d normally not find palatable. They even call out that they’re bringing in The Americans and Deadpool. That’s kind of strange for Disney, given that historically they’re careful about what they’re associated with. I really hope they leave their new portfolio alone, but that’s not their MO with content that they find controversial.


You know Disney released Pulp Fiction and Scream right?


I do, yes. Disney took incredible heat and a number of shareholders bailed as a result of Miramax releasing Pulp Fiction, and Weinstein had to fight for it, if I recall my film history. Disney also refused to allow Miramax to release Dogma, which is history that is guiding my surprise. That studio is part of the reason they started being more careful, and they finally divested Miramax in 2010.

It’ll be interesting to see how they handle their portfolio going forward.


1999 (Dogma), not to mention 1994 (Pulp Fiction), was a long time ago, and things do change. Since then I remember Disney being one of the first big companies to get in the national news for offering same-sex partner benefits; they didn't seem to care how many people that offended.


Hopefully this deal is killed. Its really bad for consumers, content creators, and actors. Monopoly on too much media all under one roof is bad all around...


Monopoly in any market is bad.


Generally what does huge mergers in industry mean for disruption (in the more traditional Clay Christensen model). For example, if the #1 and #4 player in a specific industry does that mean there is more space for an upstart to grow since #4 has left the party? Or does the new #1 suck up all the air and put such a choke hold on industry that new players cannot flourish?


(Christensen model) Disruption is about business models, not competition. New technologies that help existing companies improve their products are "sustaining innovations" (e.g. 2.5" hard drives let laptop companies make smaller, better laptops). But if they don't help existing companies and allow the development of a "worse" alternative, it's a disruptive innovation (e.g. SSD drives were too expensive and low capacity for laptops, but they were perfect for iPods and smartphones, which have now surpassed laptops in sales, use, etc).


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