Headquartered in Burbank, California, Disney has global reach and influence with its universally popular resorts, movies, streaming services, video games, and merchandise. But as one of the largest media conglomerates in the world with a diverse range of products in multiple marketplaces, Disney is no stranger to competition.
Owned by telecommunications company AT&T, Warner Media is a significant Disney competitor.
The company has extensive film, television, cable, and other entertainment assets across five primary divisions:
- WarnerMedia Studios & Networks – a division encompassing television series and film development, production, and programming. Notable assets include HBO, Cartoon Network, DC Entertainment, and Turner Classic Movies.
- WarnerMedia News & Sports – this division includes services such as CNN, Turner Sports, and regional sports network family AT&T SportsNet.
- WarnerMedia Sales & Distribution – overseeing the sales, distribution, and licensing of content.
- WarnerMedia Direct – responsible for the marketing, consumer engagement, and global distribution of streaming service HBO Max.
- WarnerMedia International – primarily tasked with managing variations of domestic television channels and streaming services for country or region-specific audiences.
Comcast was founded in 1963 by Ralph J. Roberts and is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue.
Comcast is the owner of NBC Universal, whose subsidiaries compete directly with Disney.
Specifically, the NBC television network is a direct competitor to the Disney-owned ABC and ESPN networks. After Comcast acquired a majority stake in NBC Universal, the company gained access to Universal Studios and associated theme parks to compete directly with Walt Disney Studios and Disney Parks & Resorts.
Comcast also acquired DreamWorks Animation as part of the deal, allowing it to compete with Pixar and Walt Disney Animation.
ViacomCBS is the result of a merger between American groups Viacom and CBS in 2019. The resultant company delivers content to global audiences through broadcast and cable networks and video-on-demand (VOD) platforms.
ViacomCBS portfolio brands include CBS, MTV, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Pluto TV, and Showtime Networks.
Like Disney, ViacomCBS has a significant global presence and viewership, with over 42 million subscribers signed up to its Paramount+ streaming service alone.
Merlin Entertainment Group
Merlin Entertainment Group is a British entertainment company founded in 1998.
As the second-largest visitor attraction operator in the world, Merlin Entertainment Group competes with Disney’s branded theme parks and resorts.
Some of the visitor attractions operated by Merlin in Europe include Legoland and Madame Tussauds. In Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, Merlin operates several aquariums, resorts, and ocean-related theme parks.
Amazon Prime Video and Netflix
Approximately 25% of all Disney revenue is attributable to streaming services such as Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus. For the quarter ending in July 2021, this equated to around $4.25 billion.
- With extensive global reach and a diverse range of products and services, the competitive threats to Disney are numerous and varied.
- In terms of film, television, and other entertainment, WarnerMedia, Comcast, and ViacomCBS are the primary competitors. Netflix and Amazon are also significant competitors in the streaming market.
- In theme parks and resorts, Merlin Entertainment Group is a notable competitor. Comcast also became a significant player in this space after it acquired NBC Universal, operator of Universal Studios and associated theme parks.
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