Disney-Netflix Deal: Future First Run Movies and Back Catalog of Classics

When it was announced that Netflix was losing the Starz movie titles last February, it appeared that Netflix may start falling behind its numerous streaming movie competitors. But this week Netflix pulled off a deal with the Walt Disney Company that reminds me of the "I'm not quite dead yet" scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Netflix will be replacing its Starz agreement with the Disney deal that includes Disney, Pixar and Marvel titles as soon as seven months after they open in theaters.

What makes this a landmark deal is that it offers Netflix exclusive rights to first run Disney titles and bypasses cable. In a press release issued by Netflix, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix said, "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."Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television commented in the same press release, "With this cutting-edge agreement, we are thrilled to take our highly valued relationship with Netflix to the next level by adding Disney's premier films to their programming line-up."

In a separate agreement, Disney and Netflix have made a multi-year catalog deal to bring titles such as Dumbo, Pochahontas, and Alice in Wonderland and a number of other back catalog titles to Netflix starting 2013.

The deal is surprising given Disney's history of strict rules on sales of DVDs of their movies. Classic titles were often released for a limited time then rereleased after a number of years for the next generation of tots. Sleeping Beauty may have been available for a year when your child was small and not return for another 6 years.

I wonder if the deal includes Walt Disney's Chicken Little because certainly the sky is falling. This is a big day for online movie streaming and one that might strike fear in the hearts of premium cable movie networks.

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COMMENTS
fcapra1's picture

Just this night (Dec. 7), I was going through the new releases on Netflix and mentioned to my wife that Netflix must have struck a deal with Disney to have so many classic Disney films available...and boy did they not waste any time! I think there is about 10 to 15 new Disney titles added to Netflix. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement given how I have always loathed Disney's iron fist of a hold on its movie catalog and charging outrageous prices on their "out of the vault and never to be seen for another 10 years" sales gimmick. It's nice to see this less greedy version of Disney.

I just hope this doesn't mean a rate hike at Netflix in a month or two--Happy New Years, Netflix subscribers!

johndion's picture

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