Netflix has raised the stakes in its battle with pay-TV operators by agreeing a new multi-year licensing agreement that will make it the exclusive US subscription television service for first-run live-action and animated feature films from The Walt Disney Studios. The rights had previously been held by pay-TV service Starz, which had failed to reach terms on renewing a separate licensing agreement with Netflix. Up to February 2012, Netflix offered Disney movies via the Starz deal. News of the deal’s ending reduced Netflix’s market value at the time.
Netflix shares climbed $10.65, or 14 per cent, to close Tuesday at $86.65, its highest closing price since April, albeit some way below its high of nearly $305, reached around the time that Netflix announced it price increase in July 2011.
Beginning with its 2016 theatrically released feature films, new Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature titles will be made available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the pay TV window on multiple platforms, including television, tablets, computers and mobile phones. Also included in the agreement are high-profile Disney direct-to-video new releases, which will be made available on Netflix starting in 2013.
Separately, Disney and Netflix have reached agreement on a multi-year catalogue deal that today brings to US Netflix members such beloved Disney movies such as Dumbo, Pocahontas and Alice in Wonderland.
“Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest-quality, most imaginative family films being made today,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “It’s a bold leap forward for Internet television and we are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen.”
“With this cutting-edge agreement, we are thrilled to take our highly valued relationship with Netflix to the next level by adding Disney’s premier films to their programming line-up,” said Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television. “Netflix continues to meet the demands of its subscribers in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, and we are delighted that they will have much earlier access to our top-quality and entertaining slate,” she added.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.