Confirming the speculations that were around for quite some time now, Netflix announced today that all movies that are part of the Disney network, including Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Marvel, would cease to stream by 2019.
The actual announcement was made initially by Disney chief Bog Iger during an investors call and later shared by a Netflix representative with the press. However, the decision will not affect the TV shows Marvel is producing in collaboration with Netflix, including Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and The Defenders. In his own words:
“US Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018.”
This decision came only five years after the agreement was signed between the two companies regarding the rights to stream, in a multimillion dollar contract. Netflix was also streaming the Disney movies for its American users after exclusivity deal of Disney with Star network ended last year. The streaming began with Captain America: Civil War and has since streamed movies like Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Inside Out.
It might appear that the decision to break ties with Netflix was taken in haste, but the reality is that Disney was planning to do it for quite some time now. Iger talked about the company’s plans to switch to more “aggressive” kind of streaming, which might even include live sports streaming via ESPN. Back in February, when Iger was asked regarding their association with Netflix, he did indicate that the company would not hesitate from going for the better option.
He said, “We have to be careful because we have existing agreements and existing relationships and a lot of value still being reaped from the traditional distribution relationships. But I can tell you that it is our full intent to go out there aggressively with digital offerings direct to the consumer for ESPN and other Disney-branded properties.”