The Walt Disney Company is looking at purchasing Twitter, according to a Bloomberg News report that cites “people familiar with the matter.” Word has been floating around for a while now of possible Twitter suitors, but this is an interesting one because it would match Disney’s enormous content library and ongoing production with Twitter’s nascent streaming capabilities.
Disney’s content catalog is vast. In addition to all the movies and Walt Disney-branded TV shows, it owns ABC and ESPN. We’ve seen just in the last month the interest for watching sports on Twitter is real. The Thursday Night Football games livestreamed on Twitter drew about 2 million viewers. Owning Twitter would give Disney a new social channel with a now-proven audience for its sports properties from ABC and ESPN.
That’s really only one benefit for Disney. They have to be thinking about digital content distribution as a whole right now. It’s good to own the “Pipes and Programming.” Comcast has that: It owns Xfinity and NBCUniversal (as well as several other content providers). Having control of your own distribution is a must for at least part of a future strategy for content companies. Doing so via a social media platform like Twitter, with an established user base of 300 million monthly users, makes sense as part of that strategy.
It’s still early in the process. Twitter’s streaming capabilities are far from proven on the kind of scale a company like Disney would need. Salesforce is also reportedly interested in purchasing Twitter, as is Microsoft. Still, matching a content giant like Disney with a social media platform like Twitter would be an interesting play.