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  • [Question] Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

    Disney obviously spent a pretty large chunk of cash to get the rights for Avatar. What I don't understand is why has Disney never purchased the rights to the Discovery channel? Animal Kingdom, EPCOT (especially), Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom could all use content that is used in these shows and create amazing well themed rides. Why hasn't this happened? EPCOT seems like it was built for Discovery with Mythbusters, Shark Week, and American Chopper all seeming like perfect fits for attractions it just seems like a no brained, although there are probably legal issues it just seems odd to me that they bought Marvel but not Discovery?
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  • #2
    Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

    Personally, I would agree with you that from a WDW perspective (particularly Epcot), Discovery would lend itself to better quality attractions than Avatar or Marvel. You have to remember though that Disney is primarily thought of as a media/communications company now (with cable television comprising the single largest portion of operating revenue) and the man at the helm rose up through the ranks at ABC. The company is thinking in terms of marketing across all divisions, and not just what would create the greatest quality attractions for Parks and Resorts.

    Marvel was bought specifically because its franchises are very successful at reaching a demographic that Disney has traditionally had difficulty with - teenage/early adult males. That's pretty much the whole story there.

    With Avatar, Disney wanted a big name that would impress people and get them excited/in the gates in the same way that Uni experienced with WWOHP. Obviously, the degree of controversy surrounding the Avatar announcement can lead one to question how successful that decision was, but that was the major driver behind it.

    While I agree that Discovery has the potential for a lot of cool attractions, specifically the types of attractions that should be in Epcot, it's hard to see an announcement about the purchase of Discovery making as big of a splash in the pop culture as the Avatar announcement did. And that's why, unless Disney believes purchasing Discovery will significantly boost their cable TV profits, I doubt we'll ever see it.

    Ultimately, IMHO, the best, most timeless attractions from WDI have always come from totally original ideas not based on any existing property. That's what I'd like to see more of - more than Marvel, more than Avatar, and more than Discovery.
    Last edited by PSUMark; 12-07-2011, 11:58 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

      I've always said that I'd like to see Disney buy one of these educational type channels and re-brand it as the EPCOT Channel or something like that. It seems like there would be a great deal of symbiosis there which we all know that Iger is big on.

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      • #4
        Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

        Hee Hee. "American Chopper: The Ride".

        You board a ride vehicle that resembles a motorcycle. Then you spend five minutes being yelled at by fat redneck animatronics about how the bike will not be done on time. Last scene shows the completed bike being started up for the first time.

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        • #5
          Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

          Yes! Disney used to do all kinds of educational stuff.

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          • #6
            Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

            Discovery Channel already had licensed it's name to Universal Orlando when they did the show Animal Planet LIVE!

            List of former Universal Studios Florida attractions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahile that show is no longer operating, I have no idea if that has prevented Disney from doing any sort of business with them.
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            • #7
              Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

              Well since they bought Marvel which actually still has rides in place at Universal I'm sure if they really wanted to they would get r' done. It just strikes me as odd that myth busters seems like the. Perfect fit but they bought a franchise that doesn't really fit.
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              • #8
                Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                Originally posted by Bronco21 View Post
                ... why has Disney never purchased the rights to the Discovery channel?
                There are no "rights" to purchase. Discovery Communications is a huge publicly traded company. In order to acuire the rights to one of its channels, you'd have to buy the whole company. Given the makeup of their major shareholders, that would require a hostile takeover. I don't see Disney getting involved in such a thing today.

                ---------- Post added 12-08-2011 at 10:02 PM ----------

                Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                Discovery Channel already had licensed it's name to Universal Orlando when they did the show Animal Planet LIVE!
                Actually, Animal Planet is one of the channels owned by Discovery Communications. But, in short, you're right. They're giving Universal a limited license for Universal using the name in their stage show, similar to the way they Universal licensed Terminator 2 (which as a movie was distributed by Columbia Tristar, and not Universal).

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                • #9
                  Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                  Disney has done some work with Sig Hansen and the crew of the Northwestern, who are featured on the show Deadliest Catch. A few events have been held at the Norway Pavilion and most recently Hansen had a brief role in Cars 2.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                    Originally posted by RiversOfAmerica View Post
                    There are no "rights" to purchase. Discovery Communications is a huge publicly traded company. In order to acuire the rights to one of its channels, you'd have to buy the whole company. Given the makeup of their major shareholders, that would require a hostile takeover. I don't see Disney getting involved in such a thing today.

                    ---------- Post added 12-08-2011 at 10:02 PM ----------


                    Actually, Animal Planet is one of the channels owned by Discovery Communications. But, in short, you're right. They're giving Universal a limited license for Universal using the name in their stage show, similar to the way they Universal licensed Terminator 2 (which as a movie was distributed by Columbia Tristar, and not Universal).
                    Very interesting thanks for the info! Darn legal reasons always ruin the fun.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                      Not to mention Avatar = Money.

                      Especially with Avatar 2 and 3 in the works.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                        Originally posted by k_peek_2000 View Post
                        Not to mention Avatar = Money.

                        Especially with Avatar 2 and 3 in the works.
                        Money and countless blue Pocahontas jokes and depressed weirdos who want to live like a Smurficus Gigantis.
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                        • #13
                          Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                          Originally posted by FigmentJedi View Post
                          Money and countless blue Pocahontas jokes and depressed weirdos who want to live like a Smurficus Gigantis.
                          and many depressed mice chatters, and the ruining of animal kingdoms basic principles, and the decline of WDW's reputation, the list goes on.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                            I'll be surprised if the Avatar sequels are as welcomed as the first. The only thing the first movie had going for it was the novelty of being the first movie to do realistic 3-D, and that's old hat by now.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why did Disney buy Avatar rights but not Discovery rights?

                              Originally posted by goofy donald View Post
                              ... and the ruining of animal kingdoms basic principles
                              How so? DAK is dedicated to animals "real, ancient, and imagined". It's not done very well in the "imagined" area, which is a niche Avatar would fill. It's also a "kingdom of balance, harmony and survival", and no one can argue the fact that Avatar storyline is heavy with the "balance, harmony and survival" concept.

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