I’m sure that everyone has heard the news in TV land: Disney and Fox, two of the big five media companies in America, are working on a blockbuster deal which would see Fox sell off its movie and television assets to the House of Mouse. Now the enterprise value of Fox’s assets is seen to be over $60 billion dollars, leaving pundits all throughout the media abuzz with speculation as to how it would affect the everyday consumer.
One of the biggest news pieces to come out of this overall story is that Disney will own every Fox Sports Regional Network, including the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (abbreviated YES, which is home to New York Yankees baseball, Brooklyn Nets basketball and New York City Football Club coverage,) as well as their movie studios, National Geographic, their stakes in Sky in the UK and Hulu, as well as other properties. Fox would still own their broadcast network, as well as Fox News and Fox Sports and their affiliated national channels. Let’s breakdown how this affects the everyday consumer.
First things first, this deal, which is slated to be completed as soon as next week, will effectively move Fox out of the movie and television production business. Long story short, the X-Men and Fantastic Four rights make their way back to Disney’s ownership (Skrull invasion and Doctor Doom anyone?) In addition, anything produced by 20th Century Fox Television will be a Disney property (Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Horror Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Orville, etc.).
In addition to all of that, Fox only keeps Fox News/Fox Business, FOX Sports and FOX proper. It isn’t the safest to assume, but a reasonable conclusion could be that FX and FXX will also be sold off to Disney as well, giving the Mouse more real estate in the cable TV realm. This could possibly mean that Disney may want just a little bit more when it comes to broadcast rights with cable companies such as Spectrum, Comcast and PlayStation Vue. We all saw what happened with Sony and Viacom last year, and Disney was close to a dispute this year with Altice USA, the owners of Optimum in New York City. That dispute, resolved in early October, resulted in ESPN Classic being dropped from the Optimum channel lineup.
The most important piece that must paid attention to is the stake in Hulu. Currently, both 20th Century Fox and Disney own 30% each of Hulu. If this deal goes through, Disney will own 60% of Hulu, giving them a controlling interest. With Disney already pulling their shows from Netflix, Hulu may be the only place where anything Disney may be able to be streamed. As for the streaming services that Disney was pushing earlier this year, this could effectively end both of those with Disney’s controlling interest of the ever-growing Hulu. Imagine Wimbledon, the World Series or the Stanley Cup being streamed exclusively on Hulu…this potentially opens the door for all of that.
Let’s not forget about Hulu getting into live television with Hulu Live TV. What could be the outcome of Hulu’s Live TV aspirations?
For the friends in the United Kingdom, if this deal goes through, Disney will effectively own their own cable network, taking over the 39.14% stake in British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB,) where 20th Century Fox is the majority owner as of the writing of this article.
This deal might be one of the biggest TV deals since the Comcast – NBC Universal deal in 2009, and honestly speaking, there isn’t necessarily a clear answer to the question: “What may come?” All that we can do here as consumers is hope that this deal gives us better products from each side.