With the closing of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox studios on the imminent horizon, Fox employees are rightfully concerned whether they will still be gainfully employed in the next couple of weeks. As is the case with all mergers, no matter what industry, people will be losing their jobs. And for a long time, the question remained, how many would be losing their jobs. But now a new report suggests that it will be a significant number of people.
In a report on a reorganization happening at AT&T following its acquisition of TimeWarner that could affect a couple of hundred employees, the Hollywood Reporter notes that those layoffs’ “numbers shouldn’t approach the 7,500 or so expected to lose their jobs when Disney closes its partial merger with 21st Century Fox.”
There are those who would defend the layoffs, saying that there always would be firings no matter who Fox sold out to as that is the nature of mergers to begin with. But if Fox had gone to Comcast, the job loss would have been much less severe. Between Fox and Disney there is a large amount of redundancy given that both studios are in the same specific business. While Comcast is also a content deliverer, it doesn’t do so in the same way that Fox does – i.e., through theatrical and home video releases – so the amount of job overlap would be significantly smaller, leading to far less layoffs.
Of course, this is not the only negative impact of the merger we have discussed here. As the sale went through its motions, we expressed concerns as to how the Disney buyout could have a potentially deleterious affect on the film industry. The Writers Guild also stated their concerns about the merger and how it would negatively impact their membership’s ability to sell work.
True, since that time Disney has indicated that they will keep boutique distributor Fox Searchlight open as an outlet for smaller art films and other fare that might not always fit the Disney family-friendly image. But some of the other concerns have not yet been addressed, leaving the overall benefit of this acquisition for the average film goer in doubt.