The financial success of film and television streaming companies has made telecommunication and distribution corporations increasingly vested in the expansion of their company to build a “modern media company” (Kay).
“AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner and the imminent takeover of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets by Disney or Comcast places a premium on content but analysts say the real play is distribution. ‘You have to have a direct-to-consumer presence, you have to be global, and you have to be original,’ founder and CEO Jon Cody of OTT network TV4 Entertainment says of big media strategy in a world where Netflix has led consumers to cut the cord and in the process made linear and cable dispensable. ‘Both of these mergers tick those three boxes’” says Jeremy Kay.
“The unprecedented growth in cable and satellite television in the US and elsewhere in the 1980s altered the landscape of viewing. Many countries, including those in Asia and Latin America, moved quickly to direct-broadcast satellite that escaped the messy infrastructure of landline cables. Utilizing a new generation of communication satellites owned by major corporate behemoths like News Corporation, Telstra, Foxtel, and DirecTV, television expanded its grip and became a twenty-four-hour transporter of images to billions of homes, and the broadcasting of movies became a staple of television” (Deshpande and Mazaj 56). In combination with “prominent companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple have assumed enormous power as supranational corporations that serve as streaming services as well as retail giants making aggressive strides in Europe and in the urban centers of Asia, Latin America, and Africa… The added power of satellite networks such as HBO, Star TV, Fox, and Showtime assures dominance by the U.S. players in this area. Even YouTube, for all its universalist claims, is an American company with the goal and potential to generate revenues through streaming images” (Deshpande and Mazaj 57).
With the imminent merger of telecommunications corporations with distributors and streaming corporations, the interactions viewers will have with world cinema will indubitably shaped by the decision-making of media conglomerates.
Read more on Screen Daily about the competition to takeover 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets