We’ve known for a while that Netflix and Disney had signed an exclusive licensing deal for the rights to all new films that hit movie theaters in 2016. Now we know exactly when we’ll start seeing the first fruits of that deal come into effect — September.
“From September onwards, Netflix will become the exclusive U.S. pay TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar,” said Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos in a blog post. It’s worth emphasizing that this will apply only to new theatrical releases, as there are separate licensing deals in place for other Disney content. Netflix’s “exclusive” partnership with Disney also extends into original programming, with Marvel’s Daredevil debuting on the video-streaming service last year.
The move represents part of Netflix’s bigger ambitions to host more unique content that’s not available on rival services. You’ll remember that last year it announced it would not be renewing its Epix deal, effectively meaning that a number of big-name movies were pulled from the platform in the U.S. Netflix typically uses the summer period to rejigger its content library, and this year is no different — but Sarandos said that it will also be clearing out a “batch of non-exclusive titles,” to be replaced by the new exclusive movies and TV shows, though he didn’t mention what will be leaving the service.
Though Netflix has been ramping up its own slate of original content, it still leans heavily on licensing deals from third-party providers, and this is where Netflix’s frustrations as a global streaming service hits home. It can make its own shows available everywhere, but it has to negotiate terms with other content producers on a market-by-market basis, which is why the quality of the programming varies wildly between countries. And it’s for this reason that its latest Disney deal is limited to the U.S.