Mickey’s Monopolizing Mergers

By Sara Perry, Columnist 

As we sink into couches and innuendos of one-night-stands, Netflix gleams on the television screen and we are so comfortable with exactly how it is. However, every major entertainment company (many that aren’t even that) are dabbling into this new age of streaming entertainment. It’s only logical then, that the production giant Disney dips their toes in the pool. The news comes soon after the long-rumored purchase of 21st-Century Fox, a landmark 52 ten thousand dollar deal, in which Disney managed to amass 60% of its soon to be competitor, Hulu. Part of the deal includes FX, Fox television, National Geographic (Nat Geo), the rights to Avatar, the Alien series, Ice Age, Planet of the Apes and the intellectual property of X-Men and The Fantastic 4, an acquisition that promises endless possibilities for storyline crossovers for the science fiction fan base, just to name the tip of the iceberg.

As can be expected, Disney will be allowing the expiration of licensing trough Netflix and the like for most of their movies and shows. As of now, the streaming platform, which has been referred to as Disney Play,  promises nine movies, two musicals and it’s exclusive ten episode live action Star Wars show just to launch. Contracts for the show will end up racking up a whopping 100 million dollars just in the first season. All this for what they are promising to be under 14 bucks a month. If that wasn’t enough, attempts have been made to buy back the rights to the Star Wars series (with the exception of the Original, which Disney has retained rights to), though a deal looks to be extremely unlikely. But that is not all, a second, sports-focused streaming platform will encompass ESPN and offer additional live streaming sports, a market that is completely untapped in the streaming platforms to date.

With so much equity now lying in the hands of one production company, one has to wonder why a shift into the streaming market is taking place. Perhaps the real answer lies in the habits of consumers, who are shifting away from the forced subscription to literally hundreds of fill-in channels and peak-hour programming, sheep-herding advertisements and the same old punchline. This could be considered the new golden age of entertainment, one where virtually every show pitched is being funded, every no-name actor is being hired and nail-biting, show-binging fans are one episode closer to a closed artery with every hour they can find. But while the quality of entertainment is arguably better than ever, and the quantities definitely are larger, at some point someone’s gotta give. At some point, the 100 million dollars ten episode series that four different production companies are making is not going to make money. This entertainment bubble will most certainly burst. What we should be asking is who will be going to go out of business first? More than likely, the fill-ins will go first, and it looks like cable will follow right along. The days of channel surfing will soon become one of those old-times memories that we gripe about to our grandkids as we complain about how good they have it.

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