In 1928 the first Micky Mouse cartoon ‘Steamboat Willie’ appeared in theatres. 90 years later, Walt Disney looks like a very different beast. Media Networks now makes up roughly half of the company and includes channels such as ESPN, the Disney Channel and ABC Family. ESPN commands the highest ad pricing rate across all networks but has been plagued by a reduction in the number of subscribers over the past couple of years.
Theme Parks and Hotels, Disney Studios and Consumer Products makes up the remaining half of Disney and performance here is somewhat correlated to individual movie success. The biggest opening weekend in US box office history has just been set by the latest Avengers film, leapfrogging Star Wars. Both of which fall under Disney’s umbrella.
It is widely believed that what Disney lack is a well-developed and widely used platform that they could plug into, enabling them to maximise the value of their existing content. Netflix and Amazon currently have excellent platforms but have been paying handsomely for the content. Is it therefore any surprise that in December 2017 Disney began negotiations to acquire Sky from Fox? Recent interest from Comcast may prove to be a fly in the ointment though.