The American Prospect: It’s Time to Break Up Disney

Image for post
Image for post

Hey Medium followers! I had my first article published in an established news outlet this week, so if you like my writing, go check it out! Thanks to The American Prospect for opportunity. Here’s a very brief sample:

This has been an incredible year for the Walt Disney Company. Not only has Avengers: Endgame become the best-selling movie in box office history, but Disney currently holds all four slots for this year’s top-earning films. However, the company’s dominance isn’t quite something to celebrate.

At the moment, almost 38 percent of all U.S. box office sales in 2019 have gone to a Disney-owned movie, down from a peak of over 40 percent earlier this year. And that’s even before coming releases of Frozen 2, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. As we can see by looking at the U.S. box office over the last 30 years, Disney has more than doubled its already significant market share in just five years, reaching an unprecedented point in modern history for a film company.

Within the next couple of years, there is a good chance that the majority of all money made from wide-release movies will go into the pockets of the Walt Disney Company. Even if you consider yourself a dedicated Disney fan, this should concern you…

It’s important to remember that Disney is not just a film company, but a large-scale corporate conglomerate. In fact, the company only gets about 17 percent of its total revenue directly from movies, although they are responsible for driving many of its other sales. While Disney’s film company acquisitions have been in major headlines due to their effect on Hollywood, many other acquisitions have gone less noticed. Disney now owns or holds a share in a small kingdom of companies: 20th Century Fox, ABC, A&E, Endemol Shine (producers of everything from Deal or No Deal to Black Mirror), ESPN, Fox Sports Network, FX, GoPro, History Channel, Hollywood Records, Hulu, Lifetime, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, Marvel, Photobucket, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, and Vice Media.

Disney owns construction companies, luxury cruises, hotels, theme parks, music producers, libraries, digital marketing companies, web streaming services, photography companies, video game studios, television and radio stations, magazines and book publishers, financial and real-estate firms, and more. Disney owns local news stations in eight major U.S. cities, an amusement park in Paris, a marine port in the Bahamas, venture capital firms in Shanghai, and even its own private government district in Florida. In total, Disney’s net worth is estimated to be larger than the economies of Ukraine or Morocco….

Many of the pioneers of antitrust law were not only worried that monopolies are inefficient and rig markets, but also that they are undemocratic and rig governments… Now that Disney has grown in size and strength, there’s every reason to expect that its efforts to corrupt the policymaking process will do so as well…

The Walt Disney Company is no longer the gentle giant of film and animation of yesteryear. Today, Disney is a multinational corporate conglomerate that takes in over $10 billion a year in profits alone. Its consistent growth and strategy of buying out other firms has put the company in a position of nearly unprecedented power in the U.S. media market, and thus in the global media market as well.

This position gives Disney the ability to offer lower-quality products, crush competitors, squeeze profits from other markets, influence politicians in its favor, and more. As the controversy around modern monopolies heats up, it is becoming clear that we need a generalized revitalization of antitrust law in the United States. As part of such a campaign, Disney too must be identified as a monopolistic corporate titan in severe need of being broken up into a number of smaller companies in order to restore both fair competition and the sanctity of American democracy.

Originally published at https://prospect.org on October 1, 2019.

Written by

Writer on politics, public policy, and current events. All opinions here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of employers past or present.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store