The whole entertainment industry shook when talk surfaced that 21st Century Fox and Disney held talks about a potential sale of assets. As soon as the news got around, many people from the industry started speculating as to what the new deal could be:
“Content is the weapon of choice in this over-the-top game,” said Peter Csathy, chairman of CREATV Media. “Crafty Disney can use content offensively and defensively. It can withhold its treasure trove of content and characters … from Netflix, or use some of the biggest brands in the world, the biggest franchises — Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, now maybe X-men is another one — to its advantage.”
Fox “offers significantly more IP — especially in older demos — versus the Disney franchises,” wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall in a note reacting to reports of the talks, which first surfaced on CNBC. “In addition to bringing Marvel’s X-Men back to the rest of the studio, Fox has major franchises including Planet of the Apes, Kingsman and Alien, not to mention plenty of Oscar-worthy films like The Revenant, The Martian and Birdman. This could help fill in the adult interest in DTC beyond Marvel and Star Wars films.”
“This deal could lay the groundwork for something like an Avengers vs. The X-Men film down the line,” wrote the technology website Gizmodo, under a headline that read “If Disney Buys Fox, It Could Change Everything About the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
The talks — which would put properties from FX to STAR India, under an already enormous Disney roof — were quickly pronounced dead by several outlets. A Fox spokesman declined to comment and a Disney spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.
At the end of the day, even if no deal materializes, the talks are notable for what it says about the two companies’ ambitions and the larger world of original entertainment content in 2017. Netflix, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are all heavily investing their resources in original content. All this proves that content will continue to be king and will define a company’s path forward.