Disney awakens the financial power of the Force

December 15, 2015

The media conglomerate appeared to have fallen for a hokey religion when it paid $4 bln for Star Wars maker Lucasfilm. Now, as it prepares to unleash the first of six new movies, it could more than triple its money. Even Jabba the Hutt would be happy with that payoff.

Disney could use Time Warner cord-cutting tips

August 5, 2015

The entertainment giant insists on selling cable shows in a bundle, despite losses at ESPN attributable to growing viewer preference for buying à la carte. Time Warner is benefiting from the trend, offering HBO separately. A business built on TV’s status quo looks like fantasy.

Wall Street can relate to Hollywood underdog tale

March 26, 2012

A smash debut for “The Hunger Games” makes Lions Gate the studio equivalent of a boutique bank landing the year’s biggest deal. And Disney’s $200 mln loss on “John Carter” raises questions about Tinseltown’s bulge bracket. Indies in both industries are fighting for the spotlight.

Comcast deal extends content’s precarious reign

July 11, 2012

Feuds between U.S. TV program creators and distributors are as ugly as the one in “Hatfields & McCoys.” So the $19 bln valuation implied by Comcast’s sale of a stake in the hit show’s parent company A&E is impressive. But fee fights like DirecTV and Viacom’s are the future.

Disney puts faith and $4 bln in power of the Force

October 31, 2012

That’s what CEO Bob Iger is paying for Lucasfilm - his latest attempt to purchase the creativity that Disney can’t seem to cultivate in-house. Like Marvel and Pixar, Lucasfilm’s returns remain on the dark side. But making at least three more Star Wars films may win over skeptics.

Disney chief’s unlikely fairy godfather: Murdoch

November 21, 2012

With News Corp snapping up a piece of the Yankees TV network, Bob Iger’s battle with Rupert Murdoch is becoming more intense. But News Corp’s rich price for the deal implies a punchy valuation for Disney’s much-coveted ESPN. That could make the whole Magic Kingdom worth more.

Disney magic hasn’t exactly worked on Pixar

August 5, 2013

“Monsters University” should enhance the company’s latest earnings, but a Breakingviews analysis suggests the animation studio’s value falls short of the $7.4 bln Disney boss Bob Iger paid in 2006. Pricey deals for Marvel and Lucasfilm may also disappoint investors over time.

TV industry technophobia is a bad 1980s rerun

November 20, 2013

U.S. broadcasters have won support from sports leagues in their bid to shut down online video startup Aereo. The doomsday arguments echo those used 30 years ago in an attempt to block the VCR, after which business boomed. For a creative trade, Big Media sure lacks imagination.

Déjà vu all over again for Comcast and NBC

October 1, 2009

There's a strong sense of déjà vu about the U.S. entertainment industry. Six years after NBC and Vivendi merged their US media assets, the two companies are at the centre of renewed speculation.