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TBI Weekly: How Disney-Fox affects the international scene

Disney StudiosThere’s no guarantee The Walt Disney Company will end up buying the entertainment assets of US rival 21st Century Fox – the deal hasn’t even been signed yet and you can expect a rigorous and lengthy regulatory process if it does close next week as expected.

The changes that would mean for the US market are abundantly clear – Disney becomes by far the biggest studio player, gains new cable assets and will be well set to launch its ‘Netflix killer’ SVOD service in 2019. Intriguingly, DIsney becomes the majority owner of Hulu, raising questions about its future structure.

The impact on the international market isn’t clear either. For the TBI reader, there are questions over what becomes of the Fox networks around the world – will the EMEA original content push continue or is that subsumed into Disney’s sprawling production business?

What happens to Fox’s 50% stake in Endemol Shine Group, distributor of Big Brother, MasterChef and many others? Disney has little pedigree in selling formats, so would this have a knock-on effect in its approach to the international TV production giant?

Sky is another uncertain element – would Disney want the 100% stake that Fox is chasing in the West London-based Europe-wide pay TV business? Or does it see more channel operations as an added headache? It has laid off staff at both ABC and ESPN this year, and looks increasingly a brands-focused content group rather than an international networks group.

At this stage, neither Disney or Fox are commenting publicly, either about the deal or an potential implications. However, whether it’s Bob Iger, James Murdoch or someone else running the merged business (again the caveat being if the deal actually gets done), there are plenty of questions to answer on the international plain.

 

Also in the news

Film exec Caroline Habib joins Canada’s New Metric Media to lead development and sales efforts of high-end TV drama and comedy series

Online marijuana-focused channel 420TV has acquired animated series Super Slackers, which is from The Simpsons director David Silverman

Middle Eastern satcaster BeIn Media Group has bought Turkish dramas Heart of the City, New Bride and Winter Sun from distributor Eccho Rights

US on-demand service Acorn TV has acquired ITV drama Girlfriends, more episodes of BBC comedy Detectorists and New Zealand legal drama Dear Murderer

Viasat World thematic networks Epic Drama has bought 250 hours of drama, including Mr. Selfridge and Poldark, from ITV Studios Global Entertainment

France’s Federation Entertainment and Detective Montalbano producer Palomar are coproducing That Dirty Black Bag, an 8x60mins English-language drama

NBCUniversal International Networks has launched a number of networks, including Universal Channel, on OTT service TVPlayer

Dutch channel NPO3 has commissioned Simpel Media to remake NRK format True Selfie, which UK-based distributor Magnify Media sells

Wendy McMahon was named president of ABC Owned Television Stations Group

UK broadcaster ITV has recommissioned crime thriller Dark Heart, which comes from new label Silverprint Pictures (fka ITV Studios Drama London)

AMC Networks International has upped Louise Cottrell to senior VP of affiliate sales in London

Nine Network in Australia has placed reality shows including Married at First Sight and Bridezillas on its 9Now app

SVOD service Sundance Now has added documentary Circus Kid, which Daniel Radcliffe executive produced, to its line-up

Chinese on-demand platform Tencent has acquired 450 hours of kids content from Canadian vendor DHX Media, including Strawberry Shortcake on an exclusive basis

BBC Two in the UK has commissioned a documentary from Whizz Kid Entertainment titled Michael Palin: A Life of Screen

Lifetime Asia will launch its first South Korean drama original, The Best Moment to Quit Your Job, over the weekend

Organisers of the Asia TV Forum & Market claim more an estimated US$289 million worth of deals were sealed during the four-day event

Digicel in the Caribbean and Polsat in Poland were among those buying crime series such as Exposed and Gang World from from US-based GRB Entertainment

 

This week’s top TBI stories

Disney may make James Murdoch CEO

Star CEO to be new CEO of 21st Century Fox Asia

Discovery restructures EMEA team

Disney ‘resumes Fox takeover talks’

Iger could remain Disney CEO post-fox deal