If a company could crow with glee, we’re willing to bet Netflix would be doing so right about now. The company announced yesterday that it had snapped up a deal with Walt Disney Studios to show films from Disney, Disney, Pixar and Marvel beginning in 2016. To sweeten that deal, starting immediately, older Disney movies like Alice in Wonderland and Pocahontas will be available on Netflix.
This is a big deal, as all the major movie studios out there have chosen to show their new releases on Starz, HBO or Showtime instead of going for streaming Web TV deals.
Disney new releases will start on Netflix in late 2016, just as Disney’s current (and ostensibly less profitable) deal with Starz expires, reports the New York Times. Those films will include Lucasfilm movies and any Disney direct-to-DVD flicks.
Experts are guessing that the deal could be worth about $300 million a year for Disney, and Netflix seems to think that’s totally worth it. The company’s chief content officer called the venture “a bold leap forward for Internet television.”
Although losing Disney has got to hurt Starz’s arsenal of movie offerings, as it doesn’t have the kind of original programming that bolsters HBO and Showtime, the company is acting like this is nothing, claiming it decided to dump Disney and not vice versa.
Starz said in a statement:
“Our decision not to extend the agreement for Disney output past that time allows us the opportunity to implement our plan to dramatically ramp up our investment in exclusive, premium-quality original series, which will best meet the needs of our distributors and subscribers.”
Disney’s yearly crop of box office blockbusters will likely be a big draw for Netflix customers, and could definitely boost Netflix ahead of other streaming TV services in terms of family offerings.
Little Mermaid better be added to that streaming library soon, because my VHS player has finally decided to croak.
Netflix Reaches Deal to Show New Disney Films in 2016 [New York Times]