Disney’s Monopoly is More Than Just a Game

Monopolies are alarming, but as the Walt Disney Company takes increasing control over the media, the government fails to react


Daniel Roman

Disney is rapidly taking over various industries and taking out the competition along the way with similar tactics as a monopoly.

Mulan. Snow White. Rapunzel. Dumbo. Bambi. Disney has long produced films that are the hallmarks of our childhood. According to Forbes, Disney has achieved a total market penetration, reaching all potential audiences with their classic children’s movies.

On the surface, it all seems picturesque and perfect, but beneath it lies something more sinister. Disney controls an astonishing amount of the entertainment industry, extending beyond just children’s movies into television, streaming platforms, theme parks and even resort hotels.

Disney already controls a large portion of the movie industry’s annual revenue. According to Investopedia, Disney along with five other companies – Time Warner Cable, CBS, Viacom, NBC and the News Corporation – jointly control around 85% of American media already.

The media oligopoly, or an economic state in which a few companies control an entire market or industry, should be even more alarming. When so few companies control so much of any industry, it becomes a threat to economic democracy. But the media influences the way that Americans view the world. Disney, with the other members of the big six, has almost total control over American media, with the power to censor ideas, views and news. This oligopoly is a threat to free speech and thought.

In late 2019, Disney also launched its new streaming platform, Disney+. Many have anticipated Disney’s expansion into the streaming service industry with Disney+, as Disney fans will finally be able to get all their Disney content in one location.

However, Disney’s expansion into streaming is worse for the consumer. Now besides just paying for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, television and movie enthusiasts also have to pay for the cost of Disney+.

Frankly, Disney’s creation of Disney+ is rather useless. According to the New York Times, Disney already owns the majority of Hulu, with enough Hulu stocks to completely control the direction of the company. If Disney had taken consumers into account, the company would simply retract its shows and movies from other streaming services and add all the content to Hulu. Now consumers have to pay Disney through two streaming services to get the same amount of content.

Disney’s deep involvement in American entertainment should be alarming for everyone. The company rakes in billions from movies, yet it accounts for a small minority of the company’s income, according to Business Insider. Any monopoly in any given industry is dangerous, but Disney controls several industries, all of which impact the way we view the world.

When a single unregulated entity has such power over the world, the company is a danger to democracy, with the power to manipulate free thought and speech. Disney’s monopoly threatens our free economy and must be regulated through legislation and voter action.