TBI Weekly: Foxcatcher – will the Murdoch empire sell?

Rupert MurdochNovember has been dominated by headlines about the future of 21st Century Fox and the Murdoch dynasty.

Yesterday, US reports claimed NBCUniversal owner Comcast was attempting to buy the Fox entertainment and international assets (minus the Fox broadcast network and news cable channels).

The Walt Disney Company is believed to have held talks over a deal as it looks to bolster its content line-up ahead of launch of its global SVOD service in 2019, and others are now entering the fray.

Sony is thought to have kicked the Fox tires, while Verizon is looking to emulate AT&T’s deal for Time Warner by acquiring Fox. (Of course, the Department of Justice appears to have problems with the AT&T deal, but that’s another story).

While the Murdochs have been telling shareholders there is no need to sell, and that Fox is perfectly adequate on its own, many now see a deal as the logical outcome to this story.

Fox, valued at around $54 billion, is smaller than Disney, Comcast, Time Warner and Sony, and almost miniscule compared to Facebook, Apple and Google, which are increasingly calling the shots in the original content game.

Selling to a rival would create a business with the scale – in theory – to compete with the tech giants.

There are many moving parts to this complex story, but it will undoubtedly be part of the wider narrative of how content is coming to rule the media and entertainment world.


Also in the news…

US broadcaster ABC, France 2 and Germany’s RTL-owned Vox have taken a detective drama, Take Two, from the makers Castle straight to series

British broadcaster UKTV has acquired Starz period drama The White Princess

Sony Pictures Television Networks Central Europe bought French drama Ouro from Newen Distribution

European channel Viasat World has acquired all rights in Russia and the CIS region to upcoming A+E Networks drama Knightfall

The UK’s Channel 5 has returned to acquire the new season of Fox sci-fi drama The X Files

Australian pay TV service Foxtel swooped for 380 hours of programming from UK-based factual and lifestyle distributor Orange Smarty

US subscription video service Hulu secured a deal for DHX Media-distributed kids series Supernoobs

Scandinavia’s Eccho Rights picked up the international distribution of new Star India drama Broken Hearts (Dil Sambhal Jaa Zara)

UK network ITV2 has commissioned entertainment show The Great Xmas Rant from Chalkboard TV

SBT in Brazil, A3 in Algeria and Kanal D in Romania have acquired local remake rights to Global Agency’s French cooking format My Wife Rules

US indie The WorkShop has began production on eight-part doc series SHAMEL: The Story of Sexual Harassment in Hollywood

TV Azteca in Mexico acquired shows such as Hoarders and My Ghost Story from A+E Networks International

US cable channel TLC has commissioned Say Yes to the Vegas Dress, a spin-off of the popular Say Yes to the Dress series

UK network More4 ordered 3x60mins espionage history-themed factual series David Jason’s Secret Service (WT)

MTG has ordered Strix to produce a local version of Viacom International Media Networks format Are You the One?

AMC is launching on NET and Claro TV in Brazil

Discovery Kids in India has secured a three-year deal for Media I.M.-sold animated series Sunny Bunnies

Teletoon in Canada has ordered Nelvana to take new kids series D.N.Ace into production

Olympusat in the US bought a slate of kids programming from Ireland’s Monster Entertainment, including Brewster the Rooster and Misho and Robin

France’s Federation Entertainment acquired distribution rights to new NRK drama One Night, which Viafilm is producing

Denmark’s Nordisk Film TV has acquired local remake rights to Gil Productions’ photography-themed format Capturing the Moment

Germany’s NDF Entertainment bought into formats development company Spin TV
This week’s top TBI stories…

Amazon ‘developing free VOD service’
HBO expands SVOD service in Europe
BBC eyes £500m UKTV buyout
Amazon lands Lord of the Rings TV series
Opinion: house moves are killing basic pay TV

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