The Walt Disney Co is in talks to buy 20th Century Fox’s entertainment assets, CNBC reports.
The rationale behind this deal, which has not been confirmed, is that Walt Disney has decided to launch its own streaming service in 2019. And to have a streaming service that stands a chance to compete with market leader Netflix, you need lots of content – hence the talks with 20th Century Fox.
The race is on among the online streaming services about who will be the winner in this new industry. Making deals with content manufacturers is only one approach, and Netflix has been investing heavily into creating its own films and TV shows. In August Netflix made its first acquisition and bought Scottish comic book publisher Millarworld, in the hopes that this could do for them what buying Marvel did for Disney. Soon, however, viewers will need to sign up to Disney’s own streaming service to access popular programmes like Frozen and Toy Story, as well as content from Disney’s other properties Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, ESPN and ABC.
Netflix started out as the underdog, but in very short order the streaming company has become the apparent leader. Heavy investment into original programming has proven successful for Netflix, but people will go out of their way to gain access to the most popular shows.
Game of Thrones has proved this, as US viewers would sign up to HBO Go just to watch it. Now, Variety reports that Netflix is competing with Amazon for the rights to a TV version of Lord of the Rings, in the hopes of securing the next Game of Thrones.
The deal at the centre of the Netflix-Amazon bidding war is thought to be worth £189 million. This dizzying number illustrates what’s at stake: we’re experiencing a seismic shift in how people consume TV entertainment at home, and the old rules no longer apply.
The industry players are redrawing the map, and they will pay serious money to come out on top.