Putting the microblogging platform in the hands of the company that owns ESPN, ABC and some of the world's biggest entertainment studios and theme parks could go a long ways towards realizing that vision. But the devil may be in the details.
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Disney (DIS) is working with an unnamed adviser to "evaluate a possible bid for Twitter." The report follows ones on Friday that Twitter's board is evaluating a sale, and mentioned Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google, Salesforce.com (CRM) and Microsoft (MSFT) as potential bidders. Verizon (VZ) was also mentioned, but quickly denied having interest in Twitter.
Twitter skyrocketed on Friday thanks to the initial sale reports, and added to its gains on Monday. Shares are up 25% from last Thursday's close.
Synergies between Twitter and Disney's content assets are easy to come up with, particularly considering how much various Disney properties and content creators already use Twitter. ESPN could stream select games, ABC could share news video clips and articles, custom tweet streams could be created for live events shown on Disney properties, exclusive promotional material could be shown for new Disney movie and TV releases, and so on and so on.
Likewise, there could be room to better integrate Twitter's content and publishing tools -- not just the core microblogging service, but also Vine and Periscope's video services -- on existing Disney properties.
And given how much Twitter has been hobbled by execution issues and (arguably) an unwillingness to make big changes to its traditional user experience, the arrival of new management willing to think outside the box on subjects such as character limits, user harassment and content presentation and discovery could go a long ways towards increasing Twitter's appeal.
That's the potential upside. But achieving it will require putting an end to the heavy brain drain Twitter has seen over the last two years. Doing that will require successfully competing with the likes of Google and Facebook (FB) -- and their frequently generous stock compensation -- for top Bay Area engineering, sales and executive talent.
This could be easier said than done for a unit within a Los Angeles-based media conglomerate whose business culture differs quite a bit from that of a Google or a Twitter. So might staying on the same page as Twitter's leadership, given Twitter has viewed itself as a tech company far more than a media company.
In addition, if Disney is to succeed in making Twitter a must-visit platform for media content, it has to get rivals such as CBS (CBS) , NBCUniversal, Time Warner (TWX) and Fox on board. And those companies may or may not be keen about embracing Disney's vision. Hulu serves as an example of a digital platform that several media giants (including Disney) have thrown their weight behind, but it's also one that the media giants each have a stake in. Moreover, the constraints placed on Hulu by its parents over the years have often hurt its competitiveness.
Twitter is, in many ways, a media platform with a lot of untapped potential. And Disney, which has tremendously grown the value of so many media assets over the years, would certainly make for an intriguing parent. But turning Twitter around would require Disney to overcome a unique set of challenges.