Netflix has announced a deal with The Walt Disney Company that will give the online streaming provider a period of exclusive rights to Disney movies in the United States. The agreement means that new release Disney films, having finished their theatrical run, will stream on the online provider before they move to television.
From 2016, all new live-action and animated films, including theatrical and direct-to-DVD releases, will be available on Netflix streaming for an unspecified period. Historically, premium channels such as HBO and STARZ (who hold the Disney rights until the end of 2015) exclusively screen films for up to three months before they become available to non-premium channels.
The deal means some of the biggest franchises in Hollywood will be available on Netflix first, including new Star Wars films, Marvel superhero movies, and Pixar films. An additional deal signed between Netflix and Disney, which is already in effect, opens up the famed Disney vault, bringing classic films such as Pocahontas and Alice in Wonderland to Netflix.
“Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest quality, most imaginative family films being made today,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “It’s a bold leap forward for Internet television and we are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen.”
In addition to Disney, Hasbro has also announced a new content partnership with the online streaming provider. The expanded multi-year content deal will add new children’s programs including My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Transformers: Rescue Bots, and Littlest Pet Shop. The entire season of these shows will be available one month after their season finale airs on The Hub Network.
The deals with Disney and Hasbro follow Netflix’s deals with smaller studios, including DreamWorks Animation, Relativity Media, and The Weinstein Company. In fact, Netflix is already looking to the future with DreamWorks. The two companies have created a new original program together, an animated series called Turbo F.A.S.T., that is set to debut this fall.
As it stands, Netflix is positioning itself as the number one place to stream content. Between all the deals it currently, it will be the first choice for viewers under the age of 18 and families looking for wholesome entertainment. If the recent box office success of The Avengers and Iron Man 3 are a sign of things to come, and new Star Wars films are as successful as they have been in the past, Netflix will hold the rights to some of the biggest films of the decade. And it’ll be the only place to see them.
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