Florida GOPers seem to think Disney in 2022 is dependent on Amusement Parks and “family friendly films.” In the anger over Disney’s reaction to the “Don’t Say Gay,” law signed by Governor DeSantis, angry Florida GOPers are ready to take action.
But as someone who covers TV and streaming media as my beat professionally for another outlet, I can tell you the view they hold of Disney is INCREDIBLY dated. In fact, my own relationship with Disney has been transformed as a result, from opponent of the company and its (in my opinion, negative) impact on Florida in 2012 or so, to someone who talks regularly to Disney employees and executives today.
Since Disney bought the assets of 21st Century FOX throughout much of the world in 2018, Disney has transitioned even further into being a media company that’s dependence on the creative class and reputation across the globe is critical. As part of the FOX purchase, Disney picked up not only film studios, as well as an extensive library of movies and numerous US assets, but also cable channels in Europe, India and Australia, sports channels in Latin America and India’s most popular streaming service. This came after Disney had diversified its portfolio buying Pixar, Lucasfilm and the Marvel franchise.
FOX after the asset sale became an even more conservative entity- smaller being reduced to FOX News, the NY Post, Wall Street Journal, US-driven sports properties and right-leaning newspapers in the UK and Australia. FOX failed in its long-standing goal of buying BSkyB which now is owned by Comacst, NBCUniversal’s parent company.
So as a result, FOX, already a right-wing force before 2018 has become even more political and right-wing. James Murdoch, who I always thought was a classic establishment neoliberal/neoconservative type unlike the rest of his family which is instinctively hard-right (James Murdoch had a strong hand in the editorial UK papers that his dad owned – they tended to back conservatives outside of Tony Blair, but would almost certainly not have backed Donald Trump) broke with his father and brother Lachlan after the sale, largely over politics. He is no longer involved in the family business.
But conversely, Disney has become more diversified, dependent on creative talent, global and media-driven. As a result, Disney needs Florida GOPers less than ever, something the majority party in this state hasn’t quite grasped yet.
Disney in 2022 isn’t your parents Disney or the Disney of your childhood. It’s a media company that’s dominating the streaming wars, producing interesting and creative content on a weekly basis and a company that weathered COVID better than most, because they are so diverse.
Florida GOPers need to come to grips this reality.