Disney’s recent announcement of plans to pull content off Netflix to start its own streaming service to launch in 2019 was not only potentially groundbreaking news for the television medium, but it may have set into motion the ending of the media giant’s “chill” with Netflix. While details were initially unclear regarding which of Disney’s properties – namely Star Wars and Marvel – would make the (presumably exclusive) migration to the unnamed streaming service, the company just clarified those details.
At a Q&A session at a communications and entertainment conference held by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Disney CEO Bob Iger shed some light on the prospective content set for the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service app. Addressing the Force-related, Avengers-assembling elephant in the room, Iger states (via The Wrap):
“We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and Star Wars movies on this app.”
That, however, will be supplemental to the main attraction of the streaming service, which will apparently serve as a platform for loads of exclusive content directly distributed from the Mouse media monolith. As Iger describes at length:
“The studio will produce four to five original films exclusively for the app. The studio library will be available on app. That will be 400-500 films. On the TV side, we’re going to create four to five Disney-branded TV series for the app. And we’re going to produce three to four television movies that are Disney-branded.”
It’s rather telling of today’s state of content consumption that Disney, a megacorporation that holds a firm global grasp on the television medium, owning big-three network ABC and cable outlets Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, A+E Networks and Freeform, would feel the need to make what sounds like a monumental decision to begin a transition into complete distribution independence with an ambitious sounding streaming service.
This notably leaves us with major questions pertaining to the future of Netflix’s exclusive Marvel television content. It’s a given that Disney will wait out its existing catalogue content on Netflix (including the Marvel movies and Disney’s array of animated hits), which expires at the end of 2018. However, things are far more complicated with the Netflix-exclusive side, which includes (Marvel Cinematic Universe-adherent,) shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and recent crossover The Defenders, soon to be joined by The Punisher. Disney subsidiaries ABC Studios and Marvel Studios may produce those series, but they are attached to the hip of Netflix’s distribution dreadnought.
Consequently, there are many angles to consider in the gestation of Disney’s streaming service and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. While fans of Star Wars and MCU movies will have a central hub to catch content, fans of Netflix’s Marvel shows are certainly hoping this move won’t jeopardize future installments of the acclaimed Marvel shows.
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