In what can only be described as one of the streaming pioneer’s greatest coups, Netflix closed a deal in 2016 that allowed them to become “the exclusive US pay-TV home of the latest films” from Disney and its various subsidiary brands, including Marvel and Lucasfilm. Thanks to this, Netflix has had a lock on some of the biggest movies from the biggest film studio on the planet for the last two years. But the looming launch of Disney’s proprietary streaming platform is set to bring all of that to an end.
Yes, that particular bit of writing has been on the wall for a while now, pretty much from the moment Disney’s yet-unnamed service was announced. After all, if the Mouse House wants to sell a streaming service, they need content. Specifically, content you can’t get anywhere else. And exclusive original content like Jon Favreau’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ series is a good start, Disney would be leaving some pretty potent cards on the table if they continued licensing their film library to their newfound competitors. So it was effectively a given that Netflix would lose access to its Disney content. The big question, though, was when.
Well, now we know. According to a New York Times profile of Disney executive Ricky Strauss, the beginning of the end of Netflix’s Disney exclusivity is fast approaching. Per the Times article, “Starting with ‘Captain Marvel’ in March, all of the films that Walt Disney Studios releases in theaters will subsequently flow to the Disney streaming platform instead of Netflix.” For all intents and purposes, then, don’t expect anything released after December of this year to end up on Netflix.
As for the service itself, there remains a great deal of mystery around it as Disney has yet to announce its name, price point, or even when it will launch. As for the launch window, the timing of the Netflix exit suggests that they’re aiming to make their debut in 2019 (or perhaps 2020 – while new movies will not land on Netflix starting with ‘Captain Marvel’, it’s not clear how long Disney’s current offerings will remain on the platform). However, Strauss would say only that they are “playing with launch dates,” so it’s likely that even the people making the decisions don’t yet know for sure.