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Published on March 20th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


Disney now owns 21st Century Fox. How it will impact your Apple TV viewing

The mouse is now in the Fox house. As of Wednesday morning, the Walt Disney Company officially owns 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion in cash and stock.

The deal, which closed Wednesday at 12:02 a.m. eastern time, reshapes the media landscape and makes Disney an even greater entertainment behemoth. 

The actual purchase will mean little – at least not immediately – for the public at large. But in the coming months its impact will be felt by consumers – and Apple TV users – in a variety of ways.

For starters, it’s important to note the Disney-Fox deal isn’t a total takeover. Mickey Mouse is not acquiring Fox Broadcasting Company and channels like Fox News, Fox Sports, or the Fox Television Stations Group.  Those will be spun off into a new company called Fox Corporation. 

Disney has acquired other big assets, those being 20th Century Fox Film Corporation (including 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Fox 2000 Pictures), Fox Television Group (including 20th Century Fox Television, FX Networks, and FX Productions), and Fox’s 30 percent share of the on-demand and live streaming service, Hulu.

Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox Television and FX might be the biggest headline of the deal. It means Disney will have a massive catalog of current shows including This Is Us, Empire, Fresh Off the Boat, American Horror Story, American Crime Story and Pose and older shows including The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Glee. 

Where these shows go is still up for debate. They could end up on various Disney-owned networks or on their soon-to-launch Disney+ service, which will be available on an Apple TV app.

For Disney+, the company now has a huge back catalog of Fox films and TV shows to bolster its not-yet-released streaming service, and potentially entice more customers to join. It’s already been confirmed that Disney+ will host “the entire Disney motion picture library,” signaling the end of the Disney Vault in the process and allowing subscribers to stream any Disney film they desire. 

Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s 30 percent stake in Hulu means Disney will have a total share of 60 percent, with Comcast owning 30 percent and Time Warner hanging onto the remaining 10 percent. Disney is said to also be looking into acquiring WarnerMedia’s Hulu stake, but will leave the service as it is and focus mainly on its upcoming Disney+ platform instead of altering Hulu. Let’s see if that remains to be a reality.

How Disney will determine what programming goes to Hulu and what goes to Disney+ is anyone’s guess. Recode reports Hulu “will look very different going forward” because “whenever one media player owns/starts/controls its own streaming service, it turns into a walled garden.” Watch this space.

Disney, which already owns the Pixar, Marvel and the Star Wars brands, will now also get Deadpool and the Fox-owned Marvel characters such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four, allowing for the full Marvel family to be united. Don’t underestimate what the Fox movie library brings to the table. 

This whole deal is a lot to grasp, given the handfuls of content, networks, and streaming services Disney now owns. It could be well over a year before everything shakes out and assets Disney has now bought find new homes, especially on Hulu and Disney+.

With Apple about to announce and launch its own streaming video service, how Disney plays its cards with its new ‘toys’ will be an interesting piece of the story for consumers on Apple TV.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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