It is bad for everybody other than shareholders of those two companies. In particular bad for customers, other companies and employees:
"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?" 
An analog might be found in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger . 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.
If anything I've seen a ton of competition coming up from the likes of Amazon, HBO, and a billion smaller 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.
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.
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'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'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).
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.
Netflix was just there first, but they don't own most of the content.
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.
Netflix 35% of internet traffic; AMZ Video 2%. I'd say it looks like it.
It is one of the biggest companies facing a ton of competition and still doing a superb job.
Like with Pro Life vs Pro Choice we have two campaign slogans "Net Neutrality" and "Internet Freedom" coined by entrenched interests.
 - https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/walt-disney-company-acquire...
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.
(I don't necessarily agree with all those points, but Stratechery has been about the only useful counterpoint recently.)
>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.
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.
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...
3) There is not IF, ISP have abused their power, and will do so again
And that is only a Small part of the NN Violations, many of which are suspected but can not be proven
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.
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.
Heck, look at Google Fiber. Even Google threw in the towel and said 'no more', basically.
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.)
> 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.”
Netflix serves more than their own home-grown content.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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.
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
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.
"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.
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.
The findings were 110% correct. The ultimate settled "remedy" was a joke.
Would that be better or worse for competition?
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.
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.
Which one did you exclude by stating there are only five?
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.
But for instance they will own Sky - the biggest commercial broadcaster in Europe, and the UK's second biggest ISP...
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.
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.
From a geek standpoint, I can't wait for these universes to be merged.
All in all, I can't wait for Star Wars Episode CCXXXIV...
What specifically about this deal should be of concern for antitrust regulators?
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.
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.
Lack of competition is bad for consumers, bad for the economy, bad for everything... except for the owners of the monopoly.
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!
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?
There are others where they might have different interests, but not that.
This is why if you have one person bargaining with five the one holds a much better bargaining position.
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.
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.
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?
But they keep buying up alllllll the popular IP....so that kind of doesn't really work now.
Should we let companies keep some percentage of their IP out of the public domain?
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.
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.
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.
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" ...
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?
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.
Here we go, gentlemen. The cattle take as their own the pablum the owners feed them.
(This is one of the reasons why I oppose capitalism)
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.
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.
Can you explain further?
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.
Edit: He just got the company wrong.
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.
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.
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.
They developed a heap of MARVEL original content, that Netflix funded, which now Disney is able to pull from them.
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.
"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.
Disney does. They write our IP laws.
Maybe Netflix can survive on its own OC, which is growing each time I load it up.
The Simpsons Cinematic Universe
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.
This will also open up the doors for a complete unedited despecialized edition of the original trilogy, not some bad laserdisc scan.
For me, sticking the cheesy fox logo and fanfare at the beginning of the movies would make them worse, not better.
John Williams put the opening theme to star wars in the same key as the Fanfare (b-flat major)
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.
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?
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?
 - https://www.the-numbers.com/market/
Don't you think on demand internet distribution is the true source of the problem? Record sales were at their peak in 2002 too.
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?
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.
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.
These were distribution rights, some of which were going to expire in 2020 anyway. So now we may finally get some official unspecialized Star Wars.
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.
In U.S. publishing, five publishers known as the Big Five account for about two-thirds of books published. ...
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.
It’ll be interesting to see how they handle their portfolio going forward.