With the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+ only months away, the so-called "Streaming Wars" are entering a hot period. As every company launches its own service, the concept of streaming is stretched ever-thinner as audiences are forced to pick and choice which platforms they want/can afford and which platforms they can do without.
As the grandaddy of this phenomenon, Netflix stands to lose a lot, particularly from Disney, which will be taking all of its Star Wars, Marvel Studios, Pixar, and Indiana Jones movies over to Disney+, where they will reside forever...or so we first thought.
Per a new report from Bloomberg, the original licensing deal between Netflix and Disney stipulated that every Disney film released between January 2016 and December 2018 would return to Netflix in 2026. High-profile examples of these are Black Panther, Beauty and the Beast, Incredibles II, Coco, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
To complicate matters (at least for the House of Mouse), those properties must temporarily leave Disney+ when they return to Netflix in seven years. Similar conundrums face both NBCUniversal (owner of SYFY WIRE) and AT&T, Inc., the latter of which owns HBO and Warner Bros.
"Netflix ... has some of their [as in the major networks'] most-popular shows locked up for years," reads the Bloomberg report.
In addition, popular series like The Walking Dead and Riverdale are locked in to stream on Netflix until they leave the air and even then, they'll remain on the platform for three-to-six years afterwards. Of course, when all of the major films and shows are gone for good, Netflix still doesn't need to start shaking in its boots, because of its safety net: original shows and movies, of which there were 1,000 more by the end of 2019. It also had a massive headstart when compared to all the other streaming services out there.
"The loss of back titles will not kill Netflix or slow subscriber growth. It just forces them to make more original content," Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC told Bloomberg.
Disney+ goes live Tuesday, Nov. 12, although most of its originally films and shows probably won't arrive until 2020 or later. Apple TV+ arrives sometime in the fall.