Disney, AT&T and Comcast v Netflix, Amazon and Apple

WHO MIGHT buy Netflix? Speculation on the matter has risen in line with the streaming giant’s own ascent in the past decade. Apple, with its cash hoard, was a frequently rumoured suitor. Or perhaps Amazon, or big distributors like AT&T or Comcast. At one point, industry sources say, Bob Iger of Disney directly asked Reed Hastings, the boss of Netflix, if he would welcome an offer (Mr Hastings said no).

Instead all six companies embarked on a series of massive investments that will reshape the landscape of media: who makes entertainment and how people consume it. Since June AT&T, Comcast and Disney have spent $215bn in total on acquisitions of, respectively, Time Warner ($104bn), Sky, a European broadcaster ($40bn), and much of 21st Century Fox ($71bn). Each is preparing new streaming services that will launch by early 2020.

Apple, meanwhile, has poured perhaps $2bn into original shows with some of Hollywood’s most famous directors and stars. On March 25th the company unveiled its new streaming-video service, Apple TV+, that will be available in more than 100 countries later this year. Amazon is thought to be spending more than $5bn a year on content. And Netflix is expected to burn about $15bn this year on original and licensed content in a bid to add to its 139m global subscribers before most of its would-be...



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