The case for breaking up Disney

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/07/marvel-lucas-pixar-fox.html

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The Gende Profiling PDF is returning Access Denied

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It doesn’t need to be broken up. Just cap Copyright at a fifty years after creation and the problem will take care of its self.

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And, you know, the whole “Let’s spike this story about an active child-sex-trafficker” because it might effect some of our other business concerns.

The mouse loves children.

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Side not on Disney’s Streaming…their site denies any zip code you put in as not valid. They aren’t gonna get subscriptions that way.

Big Capital always ends up curving towards being exploitative, but I can’t see Disney’s aggregation of entertainment properties being the kind of thing that’s at the forefront of concern for monopoly regulation. Railroads, the internet, credit bureaus, Facebook, big agra, highway infrastructure, and general utilities all provide real services that are a part of how society stays together, and should obviously be heavily scrutinized and broken up; Disney provides entirely non-vital, mostly intangible offerings which, regardless of popularity, are definitely not vital in the general sense of the word. Like somebody said above, tweaking entertainment copyright law would probably be pretty effective to establish some balance with a lot of the problems in the article.

Monoplies aren’t just harmful to consumers though. They are a monopoly on labor, and the labor in entertainment is both blue and white collar, manual and creative. as an enormous corporation, they are also politically outsized, not to mention their impact as a communicator of culture (and potentially, and historically, social and political propaganda.)

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Highways in the US are collectively owned by government, as are basic utilities (water and sewer - nearly everywhere, but that’s a topic for another thread). These are terrible examples to hold up as monopolies in need of breakup.

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There’s precedent for this kind of thing, especially on the “vertical integration” aspect with Disney now owning the means of distribution through Disney+.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Paramount_Pictures,_Inc.

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Oh, totally, they are things that are regulated and government-controlled and not allowed to be monopolized-- not things that are monopolized and in need of breaking up. Sorry if that came off backwards.

The means of distribution is broadband internet; Disney+ is just one choice among many, many, many streaming services with diverse content. It’ll be a beast, for sure, but Disney’s rolling it out in preparation of on-air TV waning in influence and they want to protect their main line of business: TV content. Movies make a buttload of money, but that’s not their main thing. It’s third. (sorry for slightly aged graph)

It could still get weird in the unforeseen future with Disney stuff, no doubt. But If society as a whole has to get pissed and spend the limited political capital to break up some companies, I think ones like Nestlé (not american, I know), Kraft Heinz, and a few others have far more impact on the actual day-to-day life and safety of laborers and citizens.

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See, the fun thing is I actually see a bit of hope with the Disney juggernaut going after net neutrality if the other companies hurt their streaming business. They may have the resources to actually get some kind of net neutrality that helped ensure the over-the-top IP services access against the cable companies.

It’s kind of like watching two monsters fight over who’s going to eat you… you hope one barely wins and you can deal with them after that; but you can’t deal with either until they hurt each other…

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There aren’t really that many streaming services out there, several of the new ones coming out aren’t likely to survive, and the biggest few will surely control the vast majority of available content. I really don’t see any fundamental legal difference between studios owning their own theaters and studios owning their own streaming services.

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Really? For general purpose stuff you’ve got Hulu (oh wait, Disney owns that one too,) Netflix, and Amazon Prime. The closest thing to a general streaming platform outside of the big 3 is AT&T’s VRV which I think is more of a TV model in certain cases. Like their Nickelodeon content it only a select set of rotating shows, but that may not be the case for other ‘channels’.

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Make that fifteen years instead of fifty. Fifty is already completely unreasonable.

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Yes, I was thinking the current situation in streaming video is reasonably analogous to the days when most TV viewership was divided between three competing networks.

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starz, hbo, cbs all access, youtube red, espn… then free ones like the cw, nbc, … and those are just the bigger players. the food network, a&e… xbox and playstation ( why, i dunno )

so that’s like 10 big paid services at 4-10 dollars a piece. too spendy for them all. it’d be way better for consumers if there was at least some platform / content independence.

ah yes. when television shows were free of charge, and advertising strictly limited.

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The ABC and ESPN acquisitions were under Eisner. Iger came to Disney via the acquisition of Capitol Cities/ABC in 1996. But, yes, Iger has pursued the strategy of content acquisition because he (and Jobs, who was his confidant) saw the streaming writing on the wall. Disney+ with all the content Disney has locked up is the resulting monetization vehicle.

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I don’t know what your childhood TV-watching experience was like but I distinctly remember mine was largely comprised of 22-minute-long toy commercials punctuated with even more toy commercials.

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From this New Yorker piece on auteur theory

As Matt Zoller Seitz recently reported in an indispensable piece at Vulture, Disney has placed stringent restrictions on the screening of classic Fox titles, granting primacy to nonprofit venues (such as Film Forum and the Museum of the Moving Image). Seitz paraphrases the remarks of one industry professional, who asked to remain anonymous, regarding Disney’s apparent motive: “Disney considers any screen that’s taken up by an older movie, even one that’s owned by Disney, to be a screen that could be showing the new Marvel or ‘Star Wars’ title instead. Or showing ‘Orangutans 4’ to an audience of three.”

oh hey now, don’t forget the cereal.

truly tho, the paid subscription model ( sometimes even paid and with ads ) is totally different than tv for the cost of the tv.

we may have been getting some darn great television from this new model, but i think it won’t last. the split per channel into unique ( and expensive ) paid services is the death knell. ( cbs and disney, amazon and it’s 47 add on channels. it’s not going to end well. )

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