Imagine This Fairy Tale Media Merger: Apple And Disney

Media disruptors take heart and start dreaming: What if Apple bought Walt Disney?

Price and other media consolidation regulatory issues aside, this is one scenario analysts have big-time fantasies about.

Here are some musings from three media/telecom/technology analysts: Richard Greenfield, Brandon Ross and Mark Kelley, now partners, with others, in their new research firm, LightShed Partners.

“Think about it from Disney’s perspective," they say. "Build up the world’s most prized collection of content, brands and franchises and sell it to one of the world’s most innovative technology companies that understands how to marry together hardware and software (content) better than any other company.”

For many, the effort would seem -- at perhaps the conclusion of Bob Iger's long reign as chairman-CEO of Walt Disney -- a “fairy tale’ ending, to borrow that overused Disney motif.



It is all about merging high-quality “creative” processes. Disney excels in this area, with its movies, TV shows, theme parks, and licensing merchandise. Apple shows off similar creativity when it comes to its devices and services.

But the hurdles are many.

From Apple’s perspective, it has long been worried about rapid acceleration of the legacy pay TV industry -- something Disney will continue to need to fund its future streaming efforts.

Apple is into streaming as well -- but in non-advertising streaming platforms. By contrast, Disney not only benefits from ad revenues, but looks to more advanced targeted-audience ad efforts to ramp up revenues.

Disney also gains from the TV sports content business, specifically ESPN. Apple seems to have little-to-no interest in live sports. Instead, it focuses almost entirely on entertainment content.

More legacy entertainment issues: Apple wants to release theatrical movies more quickly onto streaming platforms after their theatrical run. Disney wants to maintain the current 90-day theatrical window. Disney also has complex TV/theatrical licensing content arrangements.

Ultimately, while a fanciful approach, reality sinks in. The analysts say: “We simply do not believe an Apple acquisition of Disney should or will occur.”

Fairy tale? Maybe more tail with hair on it. Which isn't much of a media or movie ending.

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