Well, that day of reckoning is likely to happen sooner than you might think, if the proposed Disney/21st Century Fox mega-merger is approved.
That’s right, Disney has recently moved to buy a large chunk of Fox, including its movie and television studios, for $52.4 billion in all stocks – combining two of the biggest Hollywood players. Industry experts have valued the deal at just over $66 billion.
The purchase will have an effect far beyond the relationships with so any virtual characters and virtual worlds, though. Fox’s major stake in the Hulu streaming service (as well as European pay-TV provider Sky) will help position Disney for the future as it continues to deliver content to the masses, beyond its ABC and Disney television channels.
Reports say that Disney plans to expand the streaming business with an entertainment- and sports-focused service, as it begins extracting its content from Netflix – its big competitor now in this realm, all in preparation for when the deal is sealed.
In addition, Disney will be getting cable channels FX and National Geographic. And, Disney, which controls ESPN, will now get regional sports networks.
What Disney won’t get from the deal is Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and some national sports networks. These will be spun off and might be run by Rupert Murdoch’s sons.
The transaction, of course, is based on federal regulatory approval. But once that happens, the deal is expected to be finalized by June 30, 2018.
Disney owns Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, two mega animation studios. Fox, meantime, is the releasing partner of Blue Sky Studios, whose just-released feature Ferdinand hit theaters. The big question is, Is there enough room for three brilliant animation studios under one roof?
Meanwhile, Disney will now have ownership of the Avatar franchise, just as it does now with
Star Wars following the Lucasfilm purchase a few years ago. And, the deal will put Marvel characters such as the X-Men and The Fantastic Four all under one cinematic roof.
In an interview immediately after announcing the deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger said he will remain as chairman/CEO through 2021, despite his previous plans of retiring soon.
"The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible, and convenient than ever before," Iger said in a released statement.