A new battle is breaking out.
Disney is about to start pulling its movies from Netflix.
Starting in 2019 you won’t be able to watch hit films like Toy Story, Frozen and The Lion King – unless you subscribe to the company’s own exclusive streaming service.
The studio is also considering the future of its Marvel franchise, with movie series like Iron Man and Captain America, and Lucasfilm, with its Indiana Jones and Star Wars titles.
‘Disney-flix’, or whatever the new service ends up being called, could quickly be one of the most attractive streaming services around – while at the same time making Netflix vastly less attractive.
And it’s going to cost you a pretty penny.
I love original Netflix shows like House of Cards, Ozark and Glow, but the great thing about Netflix is that I also enjoy Pixar movies and co-produced Marvel series like Luke Cage and the upcoming Defenders all in one place.
If all these Disney properties disappear overnight and move to another streaming service I, and millions of others, will undoubtedly be forced to sign up for yet another subscription (that’s if you’re not already paying for Amazon Prime Video).
Disney’s decision also helps to explain why Netflix bought comic book group Millarworld yesterday, a clear sign that it wants to develop its own superhero shows that aren’t reliant on a third party.
But this could all quickly become very expensive, especially is Disney isn’t the only content studio to set up its own streaming service.
“The advent of streaming services now allows these same content companies to reach consumers more cheaply than before and in the knowledge that consumers are willing to pay for streaming services,” writes Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker on the news this morning.
“We suspect other big content providers are thinking of going down the Disney route.”
Whittaker points to the Premier League as one potential, establishing its own sport subscription, and other big media groups like Entertainment One (whose shows include The Walking Dead and Designated Survivor).
If all the big media groups decide to bypass Netflix and Amazon by launching their own streaming services, things could quickly get very complicated, and expensive.