There has been a lot of buzz regarding Disney’s decision to start streaming their movies on their own streaming source in the last few days. Along with all of the financial moves being done by both Disney and Netflix, there is even more speculation about the future of Netflix and Disney and how these movements will affect their companies.
What We Know
A few days ago, during an earnings report, Disney announced it would be pulling content from Netflix to start its own streaming services. The partnership as it stands now will end in 2019. Disney has also made moves in acquiring majority stakes in BAMtech, a major streaming and marketing service.
News of this comes as ESPN, also owned by Disney, had a drop in subscribers and ad revenue. That coupled with a number of high profile departures from the network as well as some layoffs earlier this year as well as in 2016 spurred the action. There will be a launch of an ESPN streaming service in 2018 a year before the separate Disney branded service.
This also comes as reports show Netflix being $20 billion in debt. The debt reportedly comes from the streaming service’s investment into original content like Stranger Things and House of Cards. Netflix also made a major move this week by acquiring Mark Millar’s Millarworld, whose titles include Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kickass.
However, Netflix contests the story regarding their debt. They state that it is not actual debt, but obligations for future content. That number, as reported by Netflix, is $15.7b, while their actual debt is only $4.8b.
What won’t be moving- for now at least- are the original Marvel Netflix shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. The only Marvel content that will be moving are the movies and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Along with the Marvel movies, Star Wars programming like the animated series The Clone Wars will be moving to the Disney app. But shows like Defenders, Luke Cage, and Daredevil will still be shown on the Netflix.
What The Comic Book Community Might Expect
As of the time of this writing, Disney hadn’t made any decisions about moving its Marvel TV show content from Netflix at any time. However, there might be a temptation to move hit titles to their own streaming service in the future if it means more subscribers.
For comic book fans, Iron Fist didn’t get great critical acclaim. But it seemed to be a commercial success. 7Park Data ranked it as the most binge-watched show on Netflix. Although Daredevil did much to attract new users, subsequent titles haven’t prompted a major growth in viewership. Industry experts have expressed their views of a “Netflix Bubble” if the streaming services’ original content programming fails to keep attracting viewers.
Fears of what may come from content that fails to live up to critical/viewer expectations might give Disney pause. The numbers when considering their Marvel content might cause Disney to reevaluate their content-sharing relationship with the streaming service.
Just this morning Netflix confirmed that it was in talks with Disney about keeping the Marvel and Star Wars content. The original contract with Netflix only stated 13 live-action episodes of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Marvel’s The Defenders was originally going to be the endcap of that agreement. It’s now expanded to a third season of Daredevil, second seasons for the other titles, and The Punisher spin-off series.
Netflix Chief of Content Ted Sarrantos didn’t seem too worried about Disney’s plans for a streaming service. He referred to it as being “complementary” to his own service. Netflix has been preparing for the eventual studio-specific streaming services five years ago. In preparation, they have been building a library of original content since then.