Disney is awesome; monopolies not cool
I love all things The Walt Disney Co.: Disneyland, “Star Wars,” Marvel, Disney Channel and their children’s movies alike. Entertainment content by Disney has been a huge part of my life and how I spend free time. When I was younger, Disney Channel helped shape my perspective.
However, just because Disney is, quite frankly, a fun entertainment company does not mean that it should encompass all of our entertainment options. Music and movies come from a variety of creative minds with different visions and values in each and every studio. Disney slowly started absorbing other companies and platforms, and the situation has gotten to a point in which there is potential for a monopoly in the industry.
Disney is now the largest traditional media company in the world. The company closed a deal for ownership of 21st Century Fox in March 2018. Disney also currently contains two-thirds of stakeholders on Hulu and is closing a deal for a final third stake with Comcast in the next five years.
Disney’s near future also includes the highly-anticipated release of its own streaming platform: Disney+. Popular entertainment sites joke Disney is a kind of “Hollywood monster.”
While many are aware of key changes and Twitter users frequently share that Disney “takes over the world,” many people do not realize how bad this could become in the future.
Since purchasing Fox, Disney controls more than 40 percent of the worldwide box office. With less competition in the box office, there is much less incentive for Disney to produce a variety of content and hire content creators who are willing to take creative risks.
Another problem with Disney dominating the marketplace actually has to do with free press. In 2017, Disney banned the Los Angeles Times from attending press screenings of their most recent film release for negative coverage on politics and Disneyland.
While Disney revoked the ban after criticism, many are concerned about producing uncensored critiques of a company with the power to stop journalists from being able to cover major film premieres.
Disney does not currently have a monopoly on entertainment content. The good news is there is still variety in movies and television today. There are professionals who are keeping Disney’s hunger for new projects in check. For example, Disney does not own Fox News because the ownership of Fox News, ABC News and ESPN, as well as Fox Sports, would create the type of monopoly everyone should fear. Currently, this is a choice Disney is making because of peer pressure and public criticism.
Disney is currently in healthy competition with other major media companies such as GE, NewsCorp, Viacom and Time Warner. Nonetheless, without professionals and consumers to hold Disney accountable, a uniform and homogeneous popular culture could be in our future.