Big news was made last week when it was announced that Disney plans to buy almost all of 21st Century Fox for a whopping $54 billion. While it’s interesting to think of iconic properties like The Simpsons joining Star Wars in House of Mouse, and Marvel fans are likely excited at the potential for the X-Men and Deadpool to finally join the MCU, the deal is yet another example of a single monolithic company gaining more control over an industry.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed, however, as a number of Senate and House democrats have voiced concerns over the deal with regard to antitrust laws. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, the ranking member of the Senate’s antitrust committee, said she was “concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers,” adding that Disney‘s Fox purchase would be “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.”
“Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant,” said Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline, who requested the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee to review the deal. “If it’s approved, this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.”
Both Disney and Fox expect the deal to take 12 to 18 months to go through regulatory approval. Should it go through, it not only means the odds greatly increase that any given movie in theaters will be from Disney, there will also be a big impact on the streaming media industry.
Disney is already well underway on developing its own streaming network, and with Fox ownership it will gain control over Hulu. This will make things much more difficult for Netflix, as well as studios and networks looking to negotiate on bringing their movies and shows to different services.