The first episode of the Streaming Wars is over. The rebels won. Now the empire strikes back.
Disney also acquires a majority stake in the TV product Hulu, which it may use to kickstart its entry into the streaming wars.
These additions would enrich an overflowing treasury at Disney, whose assets includes Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, ABC, ESPN, the world’s most popular amusement parks, and, of course, its classic animated-film division
.. The deal allows Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire patriarch behind 21st Century Fox, to consolidate his own kingdom—and his legacy—around the very place where he got his start: news.
.. Streaming video has conquered pay TV and created a generation of cord-cutters; the youngest Millennials (those in their late teens and early 20s) watch 50 percent less traditional television .. than people that age did in 2010.
.. For media and entertainment companies, there is one big existential question: Get big and stream, or give up and sell?
.. Traditional television is a pure gerontocracy. The only age demo watching more TV than in 2010 are eligible for Medicare.
.. You could say Disney is spending $60 billion for a risky makeover to appeal to a younger demographic, while Murdoch is using the money to install a golden stair lift.
.. Disney’s long-term strategy is, like Netflix, to own the means of distributing its content. What’s more, this deal is a “horizontal” merger
.. With this deal, Disney would control as much as 40 percent of the the U.S. movie business
.. Its control of the sports-television landscape, between the regional sports networks and ESPN, might be even more concentrated
.. Hollywood studios should be afraid to compete with a corporate Goliath that could earn half of all domestic box-office revenue in a good year.
.. Every tech company should be afraid to get into a content war with a company that combines the
- top blockbuster movie studio, with a
- top prestige-film company, with a
- world-class television production company, with the
- most valuable franchises—Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and X-Men—in the world.
.. In the last fiscal year ending in October, Disney’s made $55 billion in revenue, with about 60 percent coming from television and film (the rest came from parks, resorts, and merchandise). That 60 percent is endangered: Box-office ticket sales have been flat or declining for years, and television is in obvious structural decline
Without this bundle, almost every institution determined to destroy everything you hold dear — faith, family, country, individual liberty, self-reliance, prosperity, racial harmony, and moral decency — would disappear entirely or at least be much weaker than it currently is. Of course, I am talking about CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, Disney, MTV, MSNBC, and the like — institutions you — yes YOU — are subsidizing against your will.
.. Do you honestly believe CNN could survive at the level it does with fewer than a million total viewers? No, really, CNN averages throughout the day fewer than a million TOTAL viewers, which in a country of 330 million, is a ratings point of ZERO.
.. With so many viewers, how, then, does CNN afford to make millionaires of all these
- smug serial- liars like Jake Tapper; these
- five-foot bullies like Andrew Kaczynski; these
- breathtakingly stupid crybabies like Don Lemon; all these
- left-wing panelists; these
- Trump-hating pundits; these
- bitter, little dim-witted George Costanzas like Brian Stelter?
.. If CNN or ESPN or a whole bunch of other networks dedicated to your destruction are part of your cable package, every single month, YOU are cutting them a check, empowering them with cold hard cash, funding the very superpower these super-villains have dedicated to annihilating you and yours.
.. It is called a “carriage fee,” and this hidden fee is why your cable bill is so obnoxiously expensive.
.. No, the reason your cable bill is so expensive is because — whether or not you watch these left-wing networks — the game has been rigged to the point where you are paying for them anyway.
.. this carriage fee is the aforementioned one-legged stool. And this means that YOU have the power to kick that single leg out from under this rancid institution. You have the power to bring this entire dirty world crashing to the ground. You have the power to destroy CNN and ESPN. And that power resides within a single act…
Cut your Pay TV cord.
.. Cord-cutting affects stock prices, has resulted in massive layoffs (including — tee hee — Keith Olbermann), and has forced Disney, ESPN, HBO, and a host of others to do what they said they would never do — either license their product to streaming services or launch standalone streaming services.
.. And guess what a standalone streaming service survives on and only survives on? Customers who actually want that service. In other words, MERIT, not a rigged Pay TV system that forces 87 million who do NOT watch CNN to still enrich CNN.
.. My pay TV bill went from $140 a month to just $25 (Netflix, Amazon, Acorn — which, unlike cable, do NOT oppress you with 20 minutes of ads per hour).
Mr. Trump’s West Wing has always seemed to be the crossroads between cutthroat politics and television drama, presided over by a seasoned showman who has made a career of keeping the audience engaged and coming back for more. Obsessed by ratings and always on the hunt for new story lines, Mr. Trump leaves the characters on edge, none of them ever really certain whether they might soon be voted off the island.
“Absolutely, I see those techniques playing out,” said Laurie Ouellette, a communications professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied reality television extensively. “Reality TV is known for its humiliation tactics and its aggressive showmanship and also the idea that either you’re in or you’re out, with momentum building to the final decision on who stays and who goes.”
.. dismissed Mr. Corker on Tuesday by mocking his height and suggesting he had somehow been conned. “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
.. Mr. Trump later denied that he had demeaned his secretary of state. “I didn’t undercut anybody. I don’t believe in undercutting people,” he told reporters, in a comment that must have amused the many people he has undercut since taking office.
.. “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
.. Andy Cohen, the creator of the “Real Housewives” reality television show franchise, found that too rich. “This is actually happening,” he wrote on Twitter. “All the wives are fighting. Even I AM SPEECHLESS.”
.. This has exceeded what would have been allowed on ‘The Apprentice,’” she said. “It’s almost a magnification. It’s like reality TV unleashed. Yes, he was good at it, but I always felt like he had to be reined in in order not to mess up the formula. Here, he doesn’t have that same sort of constraint.”
But ESPN remains one of the world’s most profitable sports networks, and its struggles raise troubling questions about the entire TV ecosystem. Long considered the linchpin of the traditional bundle, live sports is often what compels viewers to stay with their cable provider rather than cut the cord. But as more consumers defect in the face of growing cable bills, what is happening at ESPN could end up affecting channels up and down the lineup.
.. ESPN and its siblings, such as ABC, account for the biggest chunk of Disney’s businessby far, pulling in $24 billion in revenue this fiscal year. The company’s next biggest segment, theme parks, made $17 billion.
.. It wasn’t that long ago that observers were calling ESPN “the most valuable media property in the United States,” estimating its value at 20 times that of the New York Times Co. and five times the size of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
.. analysts say ESPN faces a steeper challenge than most because of the rapidly rising cost to the network of acquiring sports broadcasting rights.
.. The rights to broadcast live sports cost cable companies a collective $16 billion last year, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers — up 50 percent from 2011. That figure is expected to grow another 30 percent by 2020.