Disney and Netflix taking over entertainment industry

Gabriella Pinos/ Staff Writer

The board game “Monopoly” feels like it never ends.

Whenever I play it, I get stuck trying to purchase property from my opponents with the little cash I have left.

The cycle of boredom and confusion continues until someone loses or gives up.

The game must have taken inspiration from the film industry, because that’s exactly what it feels like right now.

With the success of their animated films and Marvel franchise, the Walt Disney Company has risen above the rest as one of the most powerful voices in entertainment.

On Tuesday, March 19, they lined their pockets with even more cash, as they finally closed their $71 billion deal to purchase 21st Century Fox.

The merge gives Disney a lot of power in the box office – about 38 percent of it is now dominated by the company, according to CNN.

It also led to the shutdown of Fox 2000, a label known for producing films like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Hidden Figures” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

When I first heard this, I thought about the greed that had overtaken my favorite cartoon mouse.

I thought that Disney’s new empire, much like the Empire in “Star Wars,” was evil, and its control over the box office would monopolize the movie industry.

But these aren’t new problems in the history of motion picture. In fact, monopolies have existed back when films were still played in theaters.

After sound was introduced in film, Hollywood was dominated by a handful of film studios, called majors, which included MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Universal.

It was only until 1948 when the Supreme Court forced the studio system to dissolve and give up control of the industry in the case United States v. Paramount Pictures Inc.

In a way, we are living in that 1940s era of monopolies, but this time, it’s moving online.

With the rise of streaming services, Netflix has been giving the film industry a run for its money with its massive catalog of movies and shows.

Netflix Originals are now Hollywood’s main competitors; movies like “Bird Box” that are made in Netflix’s production studio are released frequently and attract millions of users.

Because of its content and production power, Netflix is considered a monopoly to some.

Other streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Prime exist as alternatives, along with regular television, but neither are as popular as their more successful counterpart.

In fact, in 2016, Netflix produced more programming than any individual cable station or network, according to Business Insider.

If you think about the competition, Disney’s move to purchase one of Hollywood’s largest film corporations was smart.

Now, it can at least pose a threat to the behemoths in Silicon Valley.

One of Disney’s top guns is the new additions to the Marvel franchise. By purchasing the rights to X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, Disney now has control to rework and reboot its films based around these characters.

And, since Marvel movies already rake in millions of dollars, story lines with new characters will only bring in more dough.

As for the rest of 21st Century Fox, Disney’s already going toe-to-toe with Netflix with its own subscription service, which is creatively called Disney+.

And, since the service offers Disney’s new catalog of films and shows, Netflix’s beloved Disney movies will fall into Mickey Mouse’s deep, deep pockets.

So, even though we are entering another era of monopolies in the movie industry, the battle between traditional and digital media is one we’ve never experienced before.

And if there’s anything more interesting than a monopolistic regime, it’s two monopolies battling it out to see which is the greediest.

The least we can do is sit back with a bag of popcorn and enjoy the show.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Ossman Darwiche PantherNow


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