When Disney announced their new direct streaming service in August, they left in limbo the fate of the Marvel and Star Wars movies currently on Netflix. Now, CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that Disney’s consolidation of their content will include the removal of these two franchises from Netflix.
This is a blow to Netflix, which has dominated the market since its beginning. It is even more of a blow to subscribers. It means that they will have to pay for another streaming service if they want to see the very popular Marvel and Star Wars films. For those without children, who may not be interested in Disney’s vast vault of family programming, the fact that those movies won’t be on Netflix is inconvenient.
Netflix spent about five billion dollars on original content in 2016, releasing around 126 original series or films that year. That’s more than any other cable channel or single network. To be fair, it’s easier to release more content if you don’t have to fit it in a time slot. Most notable is the success of Stranger Things, which has been a big hit in the genre field. In August, they acquired Mark Millar’s publishing company so they have all of Millarworld to play with. As far as we know, Marvel series like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and The Defenders will still be on Netflix. It’s difficult to tell how badly the loss of the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe will affect them.
Disney has its vast vault, including Disney and Pixar movies. They have content from the Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Jr. The entertainment giant is planning to produce new content as well. Their new movies, such as the Frozen sequel and the live action Lion King, will find a home on the new streaming service, which should launch in 2019.
This does not bode well for the future of cheaply available entertainment. Many people have cut the cord because of the expense of cable and having to buy channels they never watch. If the streaming services are all splintered into different brands, it won’t take long for the cost to be as high as cable service again. However, few companies have enough money for the high cost of starting a service or own the vast library that Disney does.