On March 20, the largest merger in the history of media took place. With a bid of $71.3 billion, Disney secured ownership of the majority of the Fox Entertainment Network. Although it may seem like a sudden shift, the move was no surprise within the industry, but rather the culmination of a nearly year-long bidding war between Disney and Comcast. The Disney-Fox merger has made a grand statement about the importance streaming now holds for the entertainment industry.
With Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime being the go-to service for many when it comes to media consumption, it has grown increasingly clear for companies that a move to streaming would be necessary to maintain viewership rates.
Like many others, you may be heavily invested in certain shows, and rely on the likes of Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime to get your fix. News of the Disney-Fox merger, therefore, probably put you on high alert about your favorite show suddenly disappearing from your watchlist. Ownership on platforms that mix in programs from a variety of sources can be difficult to figure out, so for your convenience and peace of mind, here’s what’s safe and what’s in jeopardy following the Disney-Fox merger.
If your loyalties lie with Hulu, you can take a small sigh of relief. Hulu was actually already in-part owned by Disney, and through the merger Disney gained a greater portion of the streaming company’s shares. There are plenty of economic complications that go along with that, but when it comes to losing out on shows, you have nothing to worry about.
With Hulu now included under the Disney umbrella, it is likely you’ll only see small changes, if any. Most likely, you’ll have access to additional Disney content not aimed exclusively at children, such as films produced through Fox’s Searchlight studio. Additionally, many of the Fox shows that are already on Hulu are further secured from other companies. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Bob’s Burgers” lovers everywhere rejoice: your favorites are safe — for now.
The same good fortune does not apply to you if Netflix is your ride-or-die streaming service. The OG streaming platform has been hemorrhaging shows produced by Fox for years now, so their vulnerable content may not come as a huge shock.
Nevertheless, the merger is likely to bring on a mass evacuation of an unprecedented volume. Among the shows likely to go are fan favorites such as “Parks and Rec,” “New Girl,” “Arrested Development,” “Gotham,” “The Walking Dead” and “Grey’s Anatomy” — once its current deal with Netflix expires — shows that are among some of the most watched on the platform.
In addition to losing some of its most iconic shows, Netflix is also likely to take a big hit in the movies section, especially after Disney+ is launched. Every and any animated film created by Disney or Pixar will likely be reserved for the company’s own platform. Although probably less drastically, many middle-level films will shift platforms or finally be available for streaming. The likes of “Love, Simon” and the “Hate U Give” were extremely successful Fox productions and could easily win fans of movies such as “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on a different platform.
All this begs the question: Where does Netflix go from here? Now, as cataclysmic as all these predictions may sound, it really isn’t as bad as it seems. Change is admittedly unpleasant, but the main takeaway here should not be that Netflix itself will implode. Disney has been revving up for this move for a while and its competitors have noticed. Netflix itself has started bracing for impact, pouring funds into creating its own original series and films in the hopes of maintaining viewers’ loyalty.
At the end of the day, for you as a consumer, the Disney-Fox merger isn’t necessarily bad news. As overwhelming and impossible to keep up with as the change may seem, it’ll also likely generate more high-quality content than ever before as each service battles it out to win you over.
In the end, it’s all about preference and adapting to the market. If you’re a fan of the Fox content, Hulu may be more your style, but perhaps Netflix’s strides to make new and innovative material will appeal to your inner cinephile. Or maybe, just maybe, if you’re tempted by the right amount of nostalgia and high-production films such as “Star Wars” or anything within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a Disney+ subscription may be in your future.