Disney closed its $71 billion (Dh260.75 billion) acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business, putting ‘Cinderella’, ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘Avengers’, ‘X-Men’ and ‘Dr Strange’ under one corporate roof.
The deal is likely to shake up the media landscape. Among other things, it paves the way for Disney to launch its streaming service, Disney Plus, due out later this year. It will also likely lead to layoffs in the thousands, thanks to duplication in Fox and Disney film-production staff.
By buying the studios behind ‘The Simpsons’ and X-Men, Disney aims to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention — and dollars.
Disney needs compelling TV shows and movies to persuade viewers to sign up and pay for yet another streaming service. It already has classic Disney cartoons, ‘Star Wars’, Pixar, the Muppets and some of the Marvel characters. With Fox, Disney could add Marvel’s X-Men and Deadpool, along with programs shown on such Fox channels as FX Networks and National Geographic. Fox’s productions also include “The Americans,” ‘’This Is Us” and “Modern Family.”
The deal helps Disney further control TV shows and movies from start to finish — from creating the programmes to distributing them though television channels, movie theatres, streaming services and other ways people watch entertainment. Disney would get valuable data on customers and their entertainment-viewing habits, which it can then use to sell advertising.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in February that Disney Plus and other direct-to-consumer businesses are Disney’s “No 1 priority.”
In addition to boosting the Disney streaming service, expected to debut next year, the deal paves the way for Marvel’s X-Men and the Avengers to reunite in future movies. Though Disney owns Marvel Studios, some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.
Disney also gets a controlling stake in the existing streaming service Hulu, which it plans to keep operating as a home for more general programming. Family-friendly shows and movies will head to Disney Plus.