Analysis from advisory firm Ampere suggests that post the media mega-mergers of Comcast/Sky and Disney/Fox, two in every 10 dollars spent on content worldwide will now be spent by these two entities. In the US, the proportion is much more significant – nearly four in 10 content dollars. So, what does this mean for the media landscape?
According to the analysis, the combined projected content spend of the two merged players will reach $43 billion (€37.7.bn) by the end of 2018. Disney/ Fox will have spent $22 billion on originated and acquired content, and Comcast/Sky a little less at $21 billion. To put that into context, this is more than the combined outlay of the next 10 largest content spenders in the US – including OTT platforms Netflix and Amazon.
“To some extent, the increasing level of consolidation is a reaction to the growing power of online video platforms,” advised Daniel Gadher, Analyst at Ampere Analysis. “Companies such as Netflix and Amazon continue to invest significantly in content, a trend which shows no signs of abating. We expect Netflix to spend over $8 billion on a P&L basis by the end of 2018, and the streaming giant has repeatedly stated it will continue to boost its content budget. Prior to the recent mergers, Netflix was on course to catch – and overtake – the top Hollywood studios by content spend. However, in light of the two new combined entities, Netflix would now need to triple spend to achieve this this feat.”
Wielding such financial authority not only strengthens both entities’ positions in the global market, it protects against the rising strength of online video. Each of the two entities controls an increasingly vast library of original content ready to be exploited through direct-to-consumer offers. Disney has already indicated it will stop licensing content to Netflix in favour of its own direct to consumer offer, a service which will have even greater appeal with the addition of Fox assets.
“One implication of this consolidation is the effect on independent producers,” noted Gadher. “With a shrinking number of content acquirers in the market, the competition for rights will diminish, and this will inevitably impact the indie sector’s ability to negotiate favourable deals.”