Alan Horn Talks Disney-Fox Merger, Streaming and Pixar Post-John Lasseter

On the topic of streaming services, here's Disney chairman Alan Horn:

The service will accommodate both film and television product, so each of the entities that is under my umbrella is charged with the challenge or responsibility of coming up with programming that can go directly to the service. I say to Sean Bailey, "I have good news. You can now make a McFarland, U.S.A. again." That was an example of a wonderful movie that lost money. But this is the perfect vehicle for that kind of movie. Kathy Kennedy and Lucasfilm came up with the idea — it wasn't mine — of an episodic Star Wars series called The Mandalorian, done by Jon Favreau. And the people at Disney Animation and Pixar are saying, "What can we do?" Everyone wears an additional hat now. Bob has said the service is now his No. 1 priority. Netflix and companies like Amazon represent the great disruption in our business and a seismic shift in consumer offerings and viewing patterns. The interesting thing, which is not resolved yet, is how big is the consumer appetite for these incremental services? I like our chances.

While I'm highly skeptical of AT&T's moves into this arena, Disney is a different beast. Their IP alone makes them an interesting player here. Netflix has utilized much of this very same IP to great effect in the past, but they couldn't create entirely new content (certainly not without permission) with it in the same way that Disney will be able to.

Disney's risk is the opposite: they'll have to be careful not to over-expose their IP (as they may have done with Star Wars content last year, leading to the disappointing showing for Solo). But I think they know this now.


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