Disney announced last week that it would be buying 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks and international TV business. This includes Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky with operations in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Italy including sports rights in several countries.
The announcement will pave the way for Disney to waves its magic over a much bigger group of assets and become a major player against the likes of Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Google.
Disney spent $13.5 billion on content in the last year of which half of that was on sports. This compares to about US$8 billion for Netflix and around US$4.5 billion for Amazon. The deal will give them a subscriber base of over 50 million customers in Europe with Sky but what could be more interesting is the growing Indian market with Star TV having over 650 million viewers. In September, Star TV paid over $2 billion for broadcast and digital rights of the Indian Premier League cricket, beating Facebook which also bid.
Disney also takes Fox's stake in the online stream service, Hulu. This could potentially open up the market in other regions of the world as Hulu is currently only available in the USA. Could we see a offering in the UK and Europe first for the Hulu service soon? We will have to wait and see...