The launch of Disney+ is just around the corner and it's about to shake up the streaming world in a big way. This could represent the first real competition that Netflix has had in the space as Disney+ will feature the studio's vast library of titles across its long history. But securing all of those titles hasn't been easy, even though they are Disney's titles. Case in point, the company had to cut an interesting deal with Starz to get streaming rights to certain key titles such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
According to a new report, Disney has cut a deal with Starz that will see ads for the premium cable channel's own streaming service appear when new subscribers sign up for Disney+. Originally, Disney promised that Disney+ would be an ad-free platform, relying purely on subscribers to generate revenue. While it remains true that Disney+ won't run Starz ads on the app, this does somewhat get in the way of the ad-free policy. But ultimately, Disney had to make a content decision, and this could be just one of many.
For Disney, the problem stems from various deals they made years ago with other companies for the rights to its movies. The precise details of these various details are complicated and not known to the public, but Starz is just one company that has a pre-existing deal for Disney content, specifically the Star Wars movies. Those titles will be crucial when it comes to attracting subscribers and not having them at launch would be damning. This is something that was previously addressed by Disney CEO Bob Iger.
"It's clear that, from a library perspective, while there's certainly a lot of volume, the recent studio slate will not fully be available at any one time because of the existing deals and it would take time for those rights, ultimately, to revert back to us."
Disney isn't the only one in a position like this as the streaming wars heat up. WarnerMedia's HBO Max has been fighting to secure attractive content for its service and Comcast's NBC-branded Peacock is similarly doing what it can to make exclusive deals for appealing titles. Netflix, meanwhile, is suffering as studios like Disney are pulling titles from the service to protect their own interests. One could argue its the consumer who loses, as content will be spread across various subscription-based services, which sort of defeats the purpose of cord-cutting in the first place.
Disney+, in addition to Disney's massive library of Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic titles, will host titles from the Fox back catalog, as well as original content. Shows like The Mandalorian, the first ever Star Wars live-actin series, and the new High School Musical show, will be available at launch, as will the new Lady and the Tramp live-action remake. Disney+ launches in the U.S. on November 12 and costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually. This news comes to us via The Verge.