Another Media Company Eyes Disney Assets, but Would the Relationship Work?

Nexstar and Disney
Credit: Harshlight, Flickr

Since CEO Bob Iger’s comments this summer, several major players have been put into the ring as possible contenders for acquiring The Walt Disney Company or its assets. Pursuing strategic opportunities is a relentless endeavor. Amid the discussions surrounding a potential complete purchase of the entire company by Apple, another prominent media company may be interested in the television networks Disney mentioned offloading.


Credit: Nexstar Media Group

The latest wrench in the industry circles around Nexstar Media Group’s potential interest in acquiring Disney’s local ABC TV stations. However, as this new courtship unfolds, a large and intriguing question looms about whether this relationship would work.

Nexstar’s Appetite for Growth

Nexstar Media Group, known for its expansion through mergers and acquisitions, has recently focused attention on Disney’s local ABC networks. This move isn’t out of character for Nexstar, which has successfully absorbed numerous television stations and companies over the years. The company’s ambition to dominate the media landscape is well-known among linear television viewers.

According to Deadline, Tom Carter, a seasoned executive with Nexstar, recently suggested that Disney’s ABC stations could be acquired with “little friction” by the company. However, observers are raising critical questions that dig deeper into the challenges and consequences of such a merger.

The CW

Credit: Nexstar Media Group

Regulatory Hurdles and Ownership Limits

One of the prominent concerns is the regulatory aspect. Nexstar already owns The CW network, and this potential acquisition could test the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding station ownership. Would the FCC allow Nexstar to expand its network ownership even further, and what impact might this have on the media ecosystem?

Limitations imposed by the sale would also come into question. The ABC network isn’t just about the stations; it’s about the content. ESPN’s frequent simulcasts on ABC bring about programming overlaps. How would Nexstar navigate this intricate web of content rights? Without access to crucial assets like ABC Studios or ESPN sports rights, would this be a fruitful acquisition for Nexstar?

Nexstar’s track record with The CW has also sparked concerns about how it might affect the ABC network. There’s skepticism about whether this move could accelerate the decline of network television, which has been facing increased competition from streaming platforms. Would Nexstar’s ownership bring innovation and revitalization to the network, or would it further erode its relevance?

Bob Iger Disney CEO

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: Disney

Nexstar and a Disney Strategic Shift

This potential acquisition is part of a broader narrative. Disney has been reevaluating its media assets and might consider a future with fewer cable channels. Some industry insiders speculate that Disney could revert to its core strengths, focusing on studios, theme parks, and resorts. Disney could reshape its identity within the media landscape if it parted ways with ABC and other cable channels. CEO Bob Iger made it very clear in a bombshell interview this summer that he has a negative opinion on the future of linear television.

Spectrum TV Disney

Credit: Spectrum; Disney

Cable TV’s Uncertain Future

Disney and cable provider Charter Communications recently had a feud over programming fees. While the two companies reached an agreement, it came at the cost of several prominent offerings on Chater’s Spectrum TV service. Charter’s decision to offer fewer networks is part of the shifting landscape for cable providers. Cable TV’s future is uncertain, and Nexstar’s potential acquisition of ABC stations could have ripple effects on the cable industry. As viewers continue to migrate toward digital platforms, cable providers are compelled to make strategic programming decisions.

Nexstar Media Group’s interest in Disney’s ABC TV stations is just another drop in the bucket of possible scenarios. While the statements made by Tom Carter don’t necessarily mean the media giant is actually in talks with Disney, this potential courtship presents opportunities for growth and expansion for Nexstar. However, it also poses regulatory, programming, and strategic challenges.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.