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Disney Switching To Netflix For Exclusive Film Distribution 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the future-is-finally-getting-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Disney films leave the theater and head for TV, they currently go through the Starz channel first. That's going to change in 2016. Disney has signed a deal to give Netflix the first crack at its animated and live-action films. Even if you're not a fan of either company, this is a bit of a big deal; Disney is ditching a traditional pay-TV service in favor of online streaming. (It also includes properties from the recent Lucasfilm deal.) The article wisely points out that pay-TV in general isn't in danger until the live sports situation changes, but this is a big step away from the status quo."
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Disney Switching To Netflix For Exclusive Film Distribution

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  • A Positive Move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @03:23AM (#42189169)
    As more content providers embrace streaming, they are going to where customers want to buy their data. I hope more companies follow their lead, they allow for multiple distributors (sucks if you have amazon prime and not netflix and it is an exclusive deal), and distributors make sure they support the big three platforms. Hopes aside, this is a good step in the right direction.
    • Re:A Positive Move (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @03:58AM (#42189321)

      Unfortunately, that's not how it works. It's grab the big bucks for an exclusive deal with one content distributor and F*** the people who aren't with that one. Other studios will get their big bucks from another distributor, so the only way consumers can have it all, is to pay for Netflix, LoveFilm (do they have that in the US?) etc.

      Then, of course, they wonder why the Pirate Bay was popular?
      Maybe it's because they have content from everyone, not to mention, in a format that plays on anything.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Unfortunately, that's not how it works. It's grab the big bucks for an exclusive deal with one content distributor and F*** the people who aren't with that one. Other studios will get their big bucks from another distributor, so the only way consumers can have it all, is to pay for Netflix, LoveFilm (do they have that in the US?) etc.

        Then, of course, they wonder why the Pirate Bay was popular?
        Maybe it's because they have content from everyone, not to mention, in a format that plays on anything.

        Not to completely invalidate your argument, however first off, Netflix streaming service is 8 bucks a month. Same as HuluPlus. Amazon is $79 per year. If you are posting on this forum you most likely have a device compatible with Netflix streaming. If not, a used Roku can be picked up for as cheap as $25 on ebay. If you were to get all three big streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu) it's still faaaaaar cheaper per month than cable television.

        As for Pirate Bay - I can walk to my TV, and in less tha

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Except if you live outside the US ofcourse. Because fuck those people.
          Even when those services expand outside US they have the same problems as any local player trying to do it. Lack of deals due to agreements locking everything in to random restrictions.

          The only way to get a good streaming service is to get a US proxy/VPN and go through that.

          Piratebay will continue to be popular where the studios won't let the users pay.

        • by Thansal (999464)

          His point isn't actually invalid, as it applies to Cable TV as well. If you want all of the new movies you have to pick up HBO, Stars, and what ever else there is, each at an additional charge per month. $271 a year (your math for netflix+hulu+amazon) is kind of expensive, and really a joke to do something like that because you would be buying the extras just for the sake of the couple exclusives they have.

          • His point isn't actually invalid, as it applies to Cable TV as well. If you want all of the new movies you have to pick up HBO, Stars, and what ever else there is, each at an additional charge per month. $271 a year (your math for netflix+hulu+amazon) is kind of expensive, and really a joke to do something like that because you would be buying the extras just for the sake of the couple exclusives they have.

            How is that expensive compared to a Cable TV bill - which could be as much as $200/month without getting all HBO and Stars.

            Seriously, if you dropped your Cable TV subscription and just went with Netflix+Hulu+Amazon, then you would have it paid off inside of 3 months. Even if you only got basic cable - which can run anywhere from $20/month to $60/month, you'd still save money or at worse break even over the course of a year.

            Or you do like me and only have Netflix and no Cable TV - $64/year. Well...we'v

      • by DragonTHC (208439)

        cool rant bro.

        Netflix is $9 a month. That's actually counter-piracy pricing. I happily pay that every month for what Netflix has to offer.

        This deal is a bonus. The only thing left is just waiting for an online streaming provider to get current television shows from all networks.

        • by Phrogman (80473)

          Except that Netflix (just like the BBC service offering their shows) hasn't studied the usage patterns of its customers.
          They often offer only 1 season, or sometimes a few seasons of a popular show but they never offer the whole thing unless the series is long dead it seems.
          When my wife and I want to watch a series, we will go through it from beginning to end. If its on Netflix (or the far superior but very limited apple BBC app), then its a no brainer. I am quite happy with Netflix generally but I get very

          • by DragonTHC (208439)

            that choice isn't Netflix's to make if the show is currently on TV.

          • Re:A Positive Move (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Amouth (879122) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @10:28AM (#42191295)

            Except that Netflix (just like the BBC service offering their shows) hasn't studied the usage patterns of its customers.

            I highly doubt that is at all a correct statement for Netflix.

            Your particular issue, is the same one i have, and if you actually look into why it is that way it is because the content owners don't want Netflix to have the full catalog. There is a trickle down pattern that the content creators/owners follow to maximize the revenue from a product, first it is broadcast fees for the live/first showing, then its DVD Sales/Physical rental income, then it's bargain bin distributions (which is what Netflix falls into for most of them).

            Disney switching to Netflix is a big deal, and i hope that if they see the value init other content owners will see it too and switch over to them.

          • Except that Netflix (just like the BBC service offering their shows) hasn't studied the usage patterns of its customers.

            You REALLY think Netflix doesn't pay attention to what people watch on Netflix? They have no studies? No analytics? No reporting? No analysis at all? Just because things are missing (hint: online content deals are hard to cut) doesn't mean they aren't paying attention. PS: Everyone was up in arms when Starz and Netflix failed to cut a deal and tons of Disney stuff disappeared. Now, they signed a deal with Disney direct, and cut out Starz. You don't think they did that because they knew how many kids wanted

        • I'm a former Netflix customer. I'm now an Amazon Prime customer. Currently, Amazon is a better deal with a greater selection. It also gives the option to view new releases if you pay a little extra plus it provides free two-day shipping, discounts on select Amazon purchases and you can "borrow" an e-book on your Kindle for up to one month every month. I just order a Roku and with AP, it should kick ass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)

      I wish that was the way it already worked.

      If I want to buy laundry soap, I can buy almost every brand at almost every store.

      If I want to buy, say, a video game -- I can only buy certain ones at certain places. Unlike buying groceries, I can't just take them home and use them however. So you end up requiring an account and a running installed client for Steam, Origin, GOG, D2D, Impulse, Green Man Gaming, Beamdog, Desura, etc. It's a fucking mess and it only is a problem because every mother fucker wants to b

      • You do know that games bought on GoG come without DRM and you don't need to install the downloader do download and play the games, right?

        (says that and updates his Steam and Origin clients *g*)

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Uhhh...since when did GOG have a client? They got a download manager, but you can use your browser just fine. As for the rest of those all of them put together don't make 10% of what Steam makes so i have a feeling in the next 2 to 3 years they'll all go by the wayside. Hell EA is up the auction block so obviously Origin didn't make the money they hoped, and I don't think I've ever met anybody that uses the others you've named, heck besides D2D I haven't even HEARD of any of them so I don't think they'll be

        • by Seumas (6865)

          True, GOG doesn't force it on you, but the others do. And GOG would obviously *like* you to use it, which is why I count it in the same list. They are the least annoying of every one, though.

          The comparison to music is fair enough, I suppose. Except that almost ten years into mainstream digital distribution, we are way on the other stream of where we were ten years into digital music distribution. And I don't like the solution you pose as the ultimate evolution of it, either. I prefer Steam and GOG (even tho

          • True, GOG doesn't force it on you, but the others do. And GOG would obviously *like* you to use it, which is why I count it in the same list.

            You wrote about services that *require* a running client.
            That is not true for GoG, so it's inclusion is outright wrong. No matter what they would like you to do.

            Also, I thought they only have a download manager and not a full fledged client? (I might be wrong here.)

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Even the download manager isn't a "You must use this!" hell they don't even try to get folks to lean one way or another, they simply point out their download manager lets you throw everything in a queue and download them one at a time, along with allowing you to pause it. And since once you have your games using EITHER downloading manually or the manager that you never have to use or even have the manager installed? I really don't think its an apt comparison.

              This is why I think it'll end up being Steam and

          • And GOG would obviously *like* you to use it, which is why I count it in the same list

            GOG does not even have a client for you to run, so this statement is just plain wrong. The download manager makes it easier for you to download products because GOG typically bundles soundtracks, artwork, etc., with your purchases. With the download manager you can download everything together with the added ability of pausing and resuming downloads. I really do believe it's there just to make things simpler for the customer, because I've not seen them try to push its use on anyone who would rather just

    • by DrXym (126579)
      I expect they go where they can maximize their returns and screw the end viewers.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        I like to think that end viewers are a variable in the maximized returns function. The variable may not be used how you expect it to be, but there is no way in hell that its not in there since they are the ones holding the money.
        • by DrXym (126579)
          I'm sure it is typical that the more viewers a service has the more it is prepared to pay. But it might also be the case that a service *doesn't* have the viewers and is using the exclusive as a hook to attract more viewers, or steal them away from a rival. In that scenario, another service with more actual viewers is being deprived of the content. Or Disney might play off two services precisely for that reason, as appears to be the case right here. My understanding is that Starz used to licence stuff to Ne
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I agree this is great and i hope more jump on board. If you want the customers you have to give them what THEY want, which is easy, cheap, and convenient to use.

      THIS is how you actually fight piracy, not the 6 strikes and John Doe bullshit, but making your product so affordable and easy to get it becomes more of a bother to pirate than it is to just get it legal. I know plenty of pirates that have stopped, not because of litigation or draconian laws, but because between netflix, Steam, GOG, and all the chan

    • by Liambp (1565081)

      Even though I am a Netflix subscriber I completely disagree that this is a good move. My problem is with the word "exclusive". As long an individual distributors get exclusive rights to content it means that large groups of consumers (those who choose for various reasons to go with another distributor) are blocked from getting the content they would like. In my country for example I can't watch most HBO shows because HBO has signed an exclusive deal with a different cable provider but if I switched to that

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        This has a long term distorting effect on the market.

        That's an unavoidable consequence of IP law as it is currently implemented. We could go with much shorter copyrights (so you only have to wait 5 years or so for the content) or use a stronger compulsory system, but as long as the law grants exclusive rights you will get exclusive deals.

        • by Liambp (1565081)

          What I don't understand is why the content producers go along with it. By giving an exclusive rights to one distributor they are cutting the audience for their product. Sure they can charge over the odds to that one distributor but ultimately the more people see your product the more money in total comes in so surely it would be better for them to distribute their content widely at a reasonable price than to rely on one big payment from one distributor.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            It's simple - people will pay more for a scarce commodity. With "real" property, the commodity generally has some shelf life or cost associated with holding on to it. With IP and a near-infinite monopoly, it pays to restrict supply to keep the price high.

    • Disney has been eying this space for nearly two decades, trying to find a way to monetize digital content streaming. Starz has been an impediment to content distrubtion, forcing content to go through pay-channel services first... Netflix has made a huge win here. The legalities of these contracts are insane too. They have release windows for TV, streaming, DVD distribution--it's all factored into these contracts.

      People don't want to lug around DVDs to watch movies, and now they don't have to with smart pho

  • 2016? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz (573045) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @03:23AM (#42189173)
    That's eons away in the context of consumer electronics. By that time, they might be the last one switching to online streaming.
    • by WarJolt (990309)

      Hopefully it will be in time for Finding Nemo 2.

      • Snow Dogs 2. Netflix is reportedly paying $300 million/year for the deal. That means squeezing out other content or raising prices to accommodate the excrement flowing from Disney's orifice. That's their choice, when it happens it is my choice to drop them.
    • Re:2016? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mysidia (191772) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:13AM (#42189365)

      That's eons away in the context of consumer electronics. By that time, they might be the last one switching to online streaming.

      It is.... but this might be good strategically. This is a sign Netflix may be able to ink a deal that applies in the nearer future. If Disney was willing to sign for 2016, perhaps another deal/option/provision is around the corner that will come to effect sooner?

      Possibly Starz will be willing to reconsider, their current refusal to make any kind of deal with netflix, as they will become irrelevent.

    • Netflix already has numerous Disney videos from tv shows to cartoons to Pocahontas, Aristocats, Dumbo, etc and those type movies. My guess is the closer to 2016, the more new content there will be but a large number of Disney related titles are already there.
    • by mysidia (191772)

      After looking into it further, I realized... part of the exclusive deal is delayed until 2016. However, Netflix immediately gets access to old movies, so there is a mixture of some delayed gratification, and some more immediate gratification.

  • I think this will start working out well for Disney, and their execs will get the idea into their heads: "Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier if we just owned Netflix?"

  • by jabberwock (10206) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @03:39AM (#42189231) Homepage
    Netflix: $1.5 billion in revenues in 2011 and growing.

    Starz: $1.6 billion in revenues in 2011 and relatively stagnant.

    Pretty much explains why.
    • Ever since Netflix left Starz I think they have gotten better. When they had starz I still have DVD service cause there was nothing to watch on streaming now I ditched my DVD services cause there is just so much to watch on steaming.
    • Starz really fucked themselves by pullling out of their deal with Netflix. Now Netflix will have a good chunk of the popular movies starz airs while not letting all those exclusive series air for people who dont have cable.
  • by TopSpin (753) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @03:42AM (#42189243) Journal

    Don't jack up rates to pay those Disney people. We'll just move elsewhere.

    — Your customers

    • by Cinder6 (894572)

      The money has to come from somewhere--it's not as if Disney will simply give the streaming rights away. So if you don't want to pay more, you have to hope that Netflix is able to attract more customers because of this deal.

    • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @04:26AM (#42189415)

      No we won't. I pay $8 a month for unlimited viewing of a ridiculous amount of content. If they could add even more (and recent) content to that, it'd be worth a lot more. I currently pay $13/mo for most of my entertainment ($8 for Netflix and $5 for MOG, where I get my unlimited music). Netflix is a steal at $8. It'd be a deal at $16. It'd be fair (but starting to push it) at $24/mo.

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:50AM (#42189679)
        Here I was thinking the opposite.

        It is getting harder and harder to find things that I actually want to watch on Netflix. To add to this, I decided to try and watch some classic dystopian movies that I either havent seen in a long time or have not seen as of yet. So I went to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] to get a nice list of dystopian movies. Of the earliest made movies in that list, 16 of the first 20 (80%) are NOT available on netflix streaming:

        La jetee (1962), The Trial (1962), Privilege (1967), Punishment Park (1971), THX 1138 (1971), Silent Running (1972), Z.P.G. (1972), Sleeper (1973), Soylent Green (1973), Welt am Draht (1973), Death Race 2000 (1975), Logan's Run (1976), Sleeping Dogs (1977), Escape from New York (1981), Blade Runner (1982), Turkey Shoot (1982)

        I know that a few of these used to be available but now no longer are, such as Blade Runner and Escape from New York.

        This is not the service that I wanted.
        • by bkr1_2k (237627)

          I watched Logan's Run recently. They do rotate through though, so maybe you missed the window of opportunity. I've also seen Escape from New York (I think) in the list though I don't believe I remember seeing any of the others. If you're looking for distopian, go older, say the 20s through the 50s and you'll find lots of options.

          I find the selection is reasonable for now and they've been getting newer releases more consistently now. Especially the Disney owned Marvel comics stuff. I think anyone paying

          • by WillAdams (45638)

            The point is that Netflix's current system of content rotating in and out makes the user's perception of the value wildly changeable --- it wouldn't be so bad if they'd track things which you added to your streaming queue and when they drop off notify you the next time you log on to the web interface that you might want to get said shows on disk.

            • For that matter, it would be nice if they would notify us of which movies in our queue are about to be removed from streaming. Give us, maybe, 2 weeks warning.

        • I agree. As much as I like Netflix and think it's worthwhile now, they really need to get some deals together so that their catalog is approaching something like "complete". I can understand not having new releases, but you should be able to count on them for movies that were released decades ago, and I'd be willing to pay a little extra to get that.

          Honestly, right now I pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus. On top of that, there are some shows that aren't on either of those services (e.g. "The Walking Dead")

        • Yeah, well try using Netflix Canada, which has about 1/4 of the US content.

        • I know La Jetee was on it, as was THX and Blade Runner. Seems Netflix is either doing some rotating, or other contracts expired as well.

          Don't blame Netflix, blame content providers. They hold all the reins here. Goes to show though how hard Netflix's position is: streaming services aren't black magic, and streaming abilities without content mean nothing. And since copyright provides a de facto monopoly position.... as said, I don't understand the hate towards netflix when it comes to availability of titles.

        • by Optic7 (688717)

          Eh, that's why you shell out the $16 to get both unlimited streaming AND unlimited one-at-a-time DVDs. That's one of the strengths of Netflix, and why they messed up when they tried to separate the services. Then you can watch the complete collection, as long as the movie is available on either DVD or streaming. By the way, La Jetee was on Instant Netflix previously as well. That's where I watched it.

    • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:56AM (#42190191)

      Don't jack up rates to pay those Disney people. We'll just move elsewhere

      The cellar-dweller lives.

      The Disney brand name has been a marketing powerhouse since the 1920s.

      Disney and Warner Brothers were the first of the major studios to make the move into television production --- jump-starting the infant ABC television network: Disneyland and Davy Crockett. The Mickey Mouse Club. Zorro.

      Disney's move to NBC and full color production was headline news and an enormous driver of sales of color television sets.

      Disney was reluctant to move into home video --- but when it did move it came in with all guns blazing. It remains a safe bet that the Disney feature will reach the top ten lists in video sales and rentals through any all distribution channels, no matter how well or how poorly it performed in the theatrical market.

      Disney through acqusitions is Marvel Comics.

      ESPN. Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Muppets. LucasFilms....

      • I agree 100%. As much as I detest Disney for things like breaking the copyright social-compact by "vaulting" [wikipedia.org] movies to create artificial scarcity and their borg-like absorption of so much of my childhood memories, it is foolish to pretend that they are not a massive commercial success.

        We can pray for the company's implosion, but it ain't going to happen any time soon.

      • by mu51c10rd (187182)

        Your post poses an interesting question. Could Disney be positioning themselves for another acquisition? I think that would be great situation for both Netflix and Disney. Not so great for Dreamworks who inked a deal with Netflix last year. Disney has a great track record for acquiring companies and not destroying them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    disney also owns marvel property rights this is a pretty big move as right now disney houses a large tent of what i enjoy watching

    • But Marvel stuff is already on netflix? Personally, I'm hoping this means Studio Ghibli stuff will become available for streaming.
      • by porges (58715)

        It is, but it's delayed. That is, all of the pre-Avengers films are streaming now, but the newest of those are over a year old. If the new deal were in place, Avengers would be on Netflix at the moment when, in the current system, it appears on Starz or whichever.

  • That's a HELL of a lot of content!

  • Dude the live sports situation is awesome! I am streaming live NBA and NFL games and watching their archives directly from the respective sources. You don't need Fox or ESPN for anything besides college football right now.

  • Star Wars on Netflix!

  • Interesting they didn't go all in with Apple and put it up on iTunes.

  • There were lots of good streams of the Olympic Games, and not very good TV coverage. Sure there were some geographical blocks to things like BBC coverage, but that's a small technicality that would be easily overcome if the need/want was great enough (once TV dies). Sure Netflix might not be able to manage ALL the sports, but each provider might manage their own part.

  • I can't wait to be able to streammonstering the latest olympic events. #objectchucking #staged Kappa
  • This is pretty radical and suggests a significant management change of philosophy within Disney.

    Historically - with VHS, DVD, rentals, DivX, etc - Disney has *always* been a follower of tech advances, not a leader. In fact, it's appeared that they've been DRAGGED to every new advance, in a seeming effort to prevent their IP from moving to media that would allow piracy.

    For them to push out to a streaming company is both a huge win for Netflix and for, I daresay, the viewing public.

  • I'm always surprised at the positive comments on netflix here on slashdot. It's a drmd format and you're totally at the whim of netflix on whether content is removed/changed. Personally I'm quite happy we have physical discs so there's a backup of say.. star wars the unspecial edition on laserdisc somewhere out there still. What about the future archival of culture if everything becomes streaming/on demand and we're totally slave to our masters?

  • Just in case you didn't know, Netflix used to carry Starz in its entirety like a year ago. Then content providers threw a big fit, saying they aren't allowed to sub-lease their content or whatever and that clearly that was 2 things for the price of one and forced them to break off.
  • Its great to see content creators embracing the new paradigm!

    Concerning live sports, I recently discovered that this weekends UFC fight is available online as a live stream for $9.99. I've ditched cable\ satellite years ago and its nice to see some live sports becoming available online. As we see some of the bigger creators like Disney shift to services like Netflix its just a matter of time before we see networks follow suit.

    What I would love to see is networks offer online subscriptions that plugin to you

  • I for one wouldn't mind if Netflix added 'premium' channels for extra fees. they are only able to provide 'X' amount of content for their price, I want more content, and am willing to pay for it; but don't want to have to add apps; change streaming devices, etc. The biggest advantage with Comcast right now is their set up box Just Works. But I know they are taking more steps to lock out 3rd parties (encrypting basic cable for example)

    I want to watch Crunchyroll anime; Comedy Centrals Colbert Report/Daily Sh

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