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 US$43bn by the end of 2018. Disney/ Fox will have spent US$22bn on originated and acquired content, and Comcast/Sky a little less at US$21bn. 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.
Daniel Gadher, Analyst at Ampere Analysis said: “To some extent, the increasing level of consolidation is a reaction to the growing power of online video platforms. 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 US$8bn 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 licencing 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. 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,” said Gadher.