STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The Walt Disney Company is buying most of 21st Century Fox. Disney takes over a big part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, although Murdoch retains control of the Fox TV network and Fox News. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik is on the line from New York. Hi, Davis.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: Why does Murdoch want to sell?
FOLKENFLIK: Well, the Murdochs - and his sons - have talked a lot about the importance of scale, that means size, that they can compete in the modern world. And they concluded they couldn't. They looked at the billions of dollars spent on generating new content effectively like TV shows and movies every year and the years to - stretching ahead from Netflix and from Amazon, in particular, possibly Apple as well, and said, we just can't do it. So they think their assets may be at a peak, and it's time to sell. They're going to focus on TV in terms of the broadcast network and the stations they own. They're going to focus on their Fox Sports Network. And they're particular going to focus on Fox News and Fox Business, its sister station, Fox News being really the economic engine that propels the Murdochs.
INSKEEP: And what they're selling, I guess, is the Hollywood stuff - right? - the production of TV shows and so forth and of movies.
FOLKENFLIK: And they've been very successful at it. If you think of the top show, "Modern Family" for ABC, if you think of "This Is Us" on NBC, those were actually produced by Fox Studios. They are acquiring an incredibly rich library over there at Disney, but they're also acquiring people who really know how to make some good TV and know how to make good movies that are well-regarded in the industry.
INSKEEP: OK. Why is it that Disney wants to buy? You've begun to answer that when you talk about the library, but what is Disney's ambition?
FOLKENFLIK: Disney's ambition is to be, in some ways perhaps, the last conventional Hollywood power standing against these digital giants. They had announced not so long ago these two new streaming efforts in sports but particularly in entertainment, you know, having that movie "Avatar," having "The Simpsons," having the "X-Men" franchise, having, you know, all of Fox's archives and its ability to create behind them may make their streaming offering much more palatable. They'll also get these major satellite TV properties in Europe, in Asia, India, China. They're going to get basically a controlling stake in Hulu, which has arisen as the conventional studio's challenger to Netflix. This is their place to say, we're going to be big enough to compete and really to survive and thrive.
INSKEEP: Oh, so Murdoch says, we can't compete to scale. We can't be big enough. And Disney says, we're going to be big enough, and this is how we're going to be big enough.
FOLKENFLIK: That's exactly right. They really want the - they want the size. They want the content that people are going to come back to and are going to be willing to pay for. You know, this is a bold move. And at the same time, you know, is it enough? Is Disney going to be good enough on these platforms that are more indigenous to Netflix, more indigenous to Amazon, to be able to compete? So I think there's a real question over this deal even though it's a major, major bold move by Bob Iger.
INSKEEP: We will pick up that question as we continue the discussion. David Folkenflik, thanks very much.
FOLKENFLIK: You bet.