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The Secret Weapon in the Streaming Wars

If the success of a streaming service were to be purely determined by its cache of popular old TV shows, Disney would be hard to beat. Its recent purchase of Fox’s TV studio means it owns more of the most popular TV shows from the past couple of decades than anyone else, according to an analysis by The Information. But almost as strong will be the combined Viacom-CBS when it merges later this year. The two companies own long-running franchises and their spinoffs, including “CSI” and “NCIS,” as well as comedy hits like “Everybody Loves Raymond.” 

That’s a reminder of the benefits of scale wrought by corporate combinations. Well behind Disney and Viacom-CBS is WarnerMedia, which lags in overall numbers despite owning some of the most popular individual hits. Its total is only a little ahead of NBCUniversal. That’s what we learned from analyzing the ownership of the most popular broadcast TV shows that aired between 1999 and 2015, using Nielsen data. (See chart above.)

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