It has been exactly a year to the day since Disney revealed its proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox – a landmark takeover that has, in many ways, laid the foundation for the tectonic shifts in the media landscape across 2018.
Mega-mergers such as Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps, Comcast’s Sky takeover and AT&T’s Time Warner purchase all reflect a universal desire to achieve scale quickly and smartly, with SVOD plays figuring heavily in expansion plans.
A year on from the #MeToo scandal of 2017 that saw businesses such as Amazon and Vice forced to confront workplace abuse and harassment, powerhouse female execs were put in charge of crucial turnarounds, with A+E boss Nancy Dubuc taking the reins at an embattled Vice and NBC Entertainment’s Jennifer Salke leading Amazon.
Meanwhile, Netflix maintained its monolithic position in the global market with an aggressive regional strategy that saw the business set up commissioning outposts and production hubs in key territories such as Spain and the UK, while Amazon did some serious damage control, repledging its support for broadcasters.
Elsewhere, it was tough going for niche SVOD plays – with the likes of FilmStruck and DramaFever shuttering and, more recently, Eleven Sports UK also on the brink of closure – other services such as Acorn TV and Shudder thrived, expanding into ever more territories.
And who could forget the Endemol saga, which found the Black Mirror producer on the sales block in a long-winded process, only to return to the Apollo/Disney fold, or All3Media International’s extraordinary Netflix deal for The Circle, and that headline-grabbing carriage fee dispute between Virgin Media and UKTV that highlighted the importance of a strong PR game (and well-timed Twitter video appeal) in public negotiations.
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