Disney is closer to acquiring strategic assets and shares currently owned by 21st Century Fox after the Department of Justice gave the deal regulatory approval on June 27. Majority shareholders of Fox still need to finalize the agreement and Comcast could disrupt the meetings again with another offer to rival Disney's, but Comcast would be taking on too much of Fox's debt through the deal to justify a bigger offer.
Though superhero fans are excited about the possibility of X-Men and other heroes joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney's intentions are largely driven by the rise and domination of online streaming. Disney Streaming Services, a direct Netflix competitor, will launch in 2019, shortly after the expiration of the Netflix/Disney licensing deal.
The acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, which range from television and film IPs to studios, will give Disney an even bigger hold on the entertainment industry. Disney and Fox are the top two grossing movie studios in 2018 so far, having a combined 50.4% market share of domestic box office earnings. Ownership of two of the top four television broadcasting networks and studios will give Disney’s streaming service possession of the biggest film and television library in history.
Through the acquisition, Disney will also own 60% of Hulu’s shares, giving it controlling interest. In total, this will be a compelling portfolio to compete with Netflix.
Casual use of VR headsets as an entertainment device is one of the leading use cases amongst consumers today. Hulu and Netflix's VR platforms are one of the most frequently used applications, prompting Oculus to release their own TV streaming application in response. A Disney streaming service that has a VR companion application could bring more content to the relatively small collection of entertainment content available for the VR headset owner.
In addition to offering television shows and films, Disney and Fox have both released various types of VR content from 360-degree videos to VR games to free roam LBE experiences. This experimentation with VR is expanding as well. Disney is releasing a VR short at Siggraph in August and FoxNext, Fox's VR studio, recently opened an LBE VR location, Alien: Descent. Together, Fox and Disney both have a vision for VR content. A Disney-owned VR streaming service could offer some of the best television, film, and VR experiences a headset owner could see in one place.
Though there is no word yet on if FoxNext will survive the imminent acquisition, the combination of teams could lead to exciting development for VR content in the future.