While it's true that Netflix is going to lose some key Disney titles in the coming months, that doesn't mean they're going to be out of the Disney game entirely, and certainly not permanently. As is also the case with other premium content currently housed on the world's largest streaming service. Despite an incoming tidal wave of competition, Netflix is still going to have a huge leg up on in the streaming game, in large part thanks to contracts that were signed years ago.

In a new, wide-ranging report detailing other studios attempts to get their premium content off of Netflix, it's been revealed that things aren't so simple. Disney signed a landmark deal with Netflix several years back allowing for their most desirable titles to be made available on the service shortly after their Blu-ray release. But with the Disney+ streaming service on the way, the Mouse House is taking their Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars titles back. At least for now. According to the report, Under their current deal, every movie released between January 2016 and December 2018, will end up back on Netflix starting around 2026. That sounds like a long way off, and it is. But the fact that Netflix will eventually get movies like Black Panther back signals the underlying complexities of the licensing deals they made long before other studio realized streaming was the future.

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Similar issues are faced by NBCUniversal and AT&T and other media companies who have deals with Netflix, as some of their most popular shows locked down for years. This includes some of the service's most-watched shows, such as Riverdale, The Walking Dead and Grey's Anatomy. It's not yet clear if Netflix will be able to keep The Office or Friends in the long term. But the overall point is that these companies can't just yank all of their best stuff from Netflix at the drop of a hat. It's going to take time. Possibly years.

At present, Netflix has nearly 150 million subscribers, far and away more than anyone else in the marketplace. Hulu, which Disney is also now in full control of, doesn't even come close. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia is about to launch their own service later this year, while Apple and Facebook are also making major steps in that direction. Plus, we have boutique services like Shudder and The Criterion Channel out there. The market is getting very crowded and the way to succeed will be through having the most desirable content. As such, it makes far less sense for studios to license that content to Netflix than it used to.

Disney will launch Disney+ in November and it's been billed as a direct competitor to Netflix. It will be cheaper, at just $6.99 a month and will feature premium content such as The Mandalorian and the live-action Lady and the Tramp remake. Disney, like everyone else, wants to keep their best content for themselves. Unfortunately for them, that may be easier said than done. This news was previously reported by Bloomberg.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott