By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
By now everyone has heard of Disney’s plans to pull out of their exclusive deal with Netflix to stream Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm content in favor of launching their own rival services in 2019. Now we’re getting word that CEO Ted Sarandos is lobbying the Mouse House hard to stay.
At first blush, we thought that Disney was cutting their Netflix deal short, but in reality, the original deal was only until 2019. So, it sounds like Netflix and Disney were starting to extend or renegotiate the next contract when Disney decided to go on their own. Details of Disney’s plans are scarce, but may include not one streaming service, but as many as three: one for main Disney films, and perhaps separate services for Marvel Lucasfilm or Lucasfilm/Star Wars content.
The “active discussions” though, don’t really pertain to the more family oriented Disney content, but focus mostly on the Marvel and Lucasfilm titles. Disney CEO Robert Iger has said that while Disney hasn’t yet decided on where those properties will end up, that a separate Disney Service or even a rival to Netflix was still on the table.
Sounds to me like a negotiating tactic. Not that Disney isn’t serious about launching their own video on demand service. That much is a given, and Sarandos said it is the “natural evolution” of the streaming business. “That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content,” he added.
But that’s not stopping him from trying to keep Marvel on Netflix. Currently the service is the home to the “Hell’s Kitchen” library of Marvel original dramas that include Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Luke Cage. Then there’s the upcoming The Defenders Mini series. Toss in the Marvel cinematic movie titles and Star Wars, and you will see a huge gaping hole in the Netflix catalog that will be a challenge to fill.
However, what leads me to believe that Disney won’t pull Marvel and Lucasfilm (just yet) is the risk of launching more than one VOD service at a time. Frankly, I think that is nuts. Would I pay for a single Disney streaming service? Sure, you bet. There’s a ton of content out over the last 75 years. But three? NO WAY. Most fans will have to choose, though some will be foolish enough in their dedication to be taken advantage of.
So I’m guessing that Netflix will have to pay more, but in the end, they’ll be happy to do it. And Disney will be able to focus on launching the nameplate service to see how it works out for them. Then again, there’s one flaw in that analysis. 2019 is going to be all Star Wars, all the time. We’ll have Episode IX, plus the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge theme park lands at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Then there’s the Avengers: Infinity War Part II. With all that hype, Disney may want to ride that wave.
We’ll just have to see what the Force has in store.
Hat Tip – Screen Rant, Variety