Discussion: Disney

There were a number of comments in December and early January about the Disney deal, and Disney content on Netflix. As there will probably be more when the deal begins a new phase in 2016 - or sooner if there are additional unhappy purges - it made sense to start a Disney Discussion page. The relevant comments from the main Discussions page have been copied below.

Everyone is reporting a bunch of Disney animated features expiring January 4, though I don't see expiration dates on Netflix itself. Anyone know more about this? This would be particularly disappointing given the ballyhoo over the Disney deal and how it supposedly expands in 2016. Incidentally, that Disney catalog deal started out great, but how many Disney classics have been added in recent months?
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The 1/4 expiration dates do show up on the Netflix site in DVD search. That's the only way to see them on the site before the 7-day My List notifications, which as Carol says below will appear tomorrow.
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Hi Rick - the expiration notice for titles "available until" January 4 (last day to watch is Jan 3) will show up on the Netflix site on Monday, Dec. 28. The Disney deal is not as simple as we'd all like it to be - Everything Disney on Netflix forever. All we can count on is that there will be some Disney content available to stream for as long as the contract lasts, and that starting in 2016, some new Disney releases will become available (I think this starts in April). But, again - not everything new, for example, the new Star Wars film isn't currently part of the deal for U.S. subscribers (you'll have to move to Canada). Finding exact information about what and when isn't easy.
If anyone knows more details about the deal, or what we can expect, please let us know.
  1. I'm seeing expiration dates for the movies Carol listed when I click on the movies on my iPad. Netflix doesn't put out a press release listing all content that is expiring. I suspect their subscribers would be up in arms if they knew how much content was disappearing in January.

    I don't know the particulars of the Disney deal with respect to "old" content. I am surprised that we haven't seen more movies that were made between 1980 and 2010. I doubt that Starz has the rights to those films, but Disney has a lot of channels on basic cable plus it's own premium cable channel so it may be funneling content to those outlets. The real classics like Dumbo and Cinderella tend to come out of the Disney vault for a relatively short period of time and then go back into the vault fore five years or more. That's just Disney's way of monetizing its classic content rather than wearing it out by showing it over and over again. Disney doesn't seem shy about licensing its TV content to Netflix. There are some months when there are so many new seasons of Disney or ABC content added that I think it would be cheaper for Netflix to just sell itself to Disney.
  2. Thank you all for your replies and for the wonderful forum you have provided here. I didn't think to check the DVD listings! My kids are a big fan of even some of the "lesser" Disney animation efforts, so I really hope this is just a blip and not an indication that more of that content is going to be rotated out. Even THAT would be tolerable if I saw more content rotating IN--like the Disney live action movies, for example.
  3. While I don't know how the Disney deal works, I think this is the current formulation of when "first" non-theatrical rights becomes available: first, the number of theaters screening the movie has to drop below a certain threshold (say the threshold is 10% of the theaters initially screening the movie. When you get to the threshold you then wait 6 to 9 months to go to cable TV or a streaming service (that gets you some time to capture DVD receipts as well as VOD money). My guess is that a lot of movies fade quickly after the first week and probably reach the threshold after one month. However, if you are showing a Star Wars or Pixar movie, you might not get to the threshold for two to three months or more after which you have to wait the 6-9 month period.

    The first Disney movie for 2016 comes out in January. I don't recall the title but I think it involves a Coast Guard ship that capsizes and the rescue of the sailors. Having seen the trailer, I doubt it will last long in theaters. The next film up is an animated feature in April, then a live-action feature in June. In the last half of the year, I think there is a Pixar movie, a stand-alone Star Wars film and a Marvel feature. So it is likely we will see two or three "new" Disney movies in 2016, but those coming out in the last six months probably won't hit Netflix until sometime in 2017. There's a bit of "bait and switch " there. The deal is effective Jan. 1 for movies theatrically released in 2016 and after but the movies won't start hitting Netflix until sometime after June and probably only three will hit Netflix in 2016. The best guess as to when the Marvel and Star Wars movies come to Netflix is to see how quickly The Force Awakens comes to Starz. I'm betting around Xmas of next year.
  4. There are a couple of other films that Disney is releasing in 2016 for a total of probably 10 to 12 films. Also, I thought I had read somewhere that the waiting period after the threshold is meet is closer to 6 months than 9. I think Netflix releases its quarterly results in January; maybe they will say something about when they can expect the movies then.

    Incidentally, at their last earnings call, they announced that they had exclusive first non-theatrical rights to The Big Short which would show up on Netflix in due course (whatever the "usual" waiting period is. Also, under their distribution deal with Open Road Pictures, Netflix should be streaming Spotlight in 2016. (In 2017, the Open Road deal goes to Amazon Prime, giving Amazon a lock on a majority of indie studios. It probably cost them much less than the $160 million that Netflix is handing to Adam Sandler.
  5. Thanks, Wellesley72. You aroused my curiosity, so for others who might be wondering, the January Disney theatrical release about a Coast Guard rescue is The Finest Hours. For other 2016 Disney movies, check out http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/2016
  6. There are more Disney films coming out in the first half of 2016. My guess is that with exception of Captain America, all of those films will make it to Netflix after July 1 but by the end of the year. The question is what Netflix does until those Disney movies start streaming, particularly since those of us who have subscriptions at $7.99/mo. are going to see a price hike in May to $9.99/mo. If the movie content doesn't improve over what is listed for January, I can see Netflix subscribers switching to Amazon Prime (if they don't have it already) for films from Epix and from exclusive deals that Amazon has or will have soon from top notch indie film distributors plus the ability to generate original content and to allow subscribers to download that content off-line. Hulu is getting more aggressive with exclusive deals with new content fro Fox, FX, TNT and AMC (which also includes content from Sundance TV and BBC America funded in part by AMC). In the meantime, Netflix is burning through cash to provide original content or to acquire third-party content on an exclusive, global basis (for which I am sure they are paying a hefty premium, primarily to show in territories or future territories (such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East) where it is not clear to me that subscribers will have any interest in that content. Either Reed Hastings is a true visionary who is able to weave great content from his various territories into a great streaming service or he is an idiot for attempting to replicate what he has developed in English-speaking countries, South America and parts of Europe where the cost of entry is high because of existing competitors or because he has to buy a lot of local content for these territorities to keep Netflix afloat around the world. I think this will be a make or break year for Netflix, which could easily expand too fast and find itself in a big hole.
  7. I guess I am in the minority (though perhaps not among *this* community!) in that I am just not excited at the prospect of Disney theatricals going to Netflix. I would much rather see a more comprehensive catalog deal that encompasses the history of Disney and its properties. It seems that the average user wants recent blockbuster movies (or at least that's the perception), Netflix is going for the HBO model, and someone like me who wants catalog material (not just Disney, but I'd like to see some of that Universal TV library content return) is going to have to keep buying DVDs as long as they make them.
  8. With the recent Disney purge, I had feared that all Disney content save some of its TV channel movies and direct to DVD sequels was gone. Not so. Here's Disney theatrical releases still available to stream:

    Mulan
    Fantasia
    Fantasia 2000
    Treasure Planet
    Escape to Witch Mountain

    Maybe the selection isn't all that great, but at least it's better than nothing for now.

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    Hi Brian, always nice to hear from you. I'm a little confused by your list. When I searched under Disney, a lot more titles came up, e.g., Brother Bear - which was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar - and also Holes, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, and of course, the recently added Pirates of the Caribbean, just to name a few. It's always hard when the classics, like Dumbo, are taken away from us, but I think the remaining selection is adequate at the very least.

    Btw, Treasure Planet is no longer streaming - it expired at the end of December.
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  1. Carol, you were right about Brother Bear, Tarzan, and Winnie the Pooh. I was primarily looking for younger skewing titles which caused me to leave out Pirates of the Caribbean. I didn't realize Holes was Disney, but you may well be right. I guess the point was that I was thinking doom and gloom when they announced the purge on January 4 and was pleasantly surprised by some of the films left.

    PS: Yeah, should have known about Treasure Planet considering I covered it in my blog.

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  2. This is kind of a win some-lose some situation. Although I'm not into Disney myself, I can see why a lot of people would be freaking out about so many popular titles for children fleeing the service...but it's clearly all part of Netflix's main plan which is to rely less on expensive movie studio deals (and believe me that Disney one was not cheap) and become more reliant on their own content. Basically, Netflix will be producing more and more original material which they will own forever and not have to pay a dime for and saving money since they aren't spending as much on content. Basically, the idea is to become an HBO type service with a healthy selection of new movies (despite all the purges, there's a LOT of well reviewed films from the last few years on here, practically everything that wasn't a big ticket item for a major studio) and a bunch of original shows.

    Of course, for movie lovers that's not the best news, but Netflix was frankly getting gouged with the initial deals they signed with the studios. Like practically every movie before 1980 is worthless to most modern viewers and Netflix themselves have suggested that ANY content from the last few years is more valuable to them than almost any older content...so it is kind of hilarious that a studio like Warner Brothers wants to charge top dollar for a pre- 1980 catalog that would make up like .1% of all the viewing hours on Netflix. In my personal opinion, the studios should eventually realize that they're in the same situation music studios are with services like Spotify...most of the content is basically worthless in the age of so many streaming options and piracy that they might as well just dump EVERYTHING on there just for the historical value.

    Obviously, part two of Netflix's plan is to continue to dominate the industry to the point where they get more favorable deals with the film and television studios for content, but I guess we'll have to see how that plays out...

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    1. Thanks, Anonymous. I'm going to copy your comment to the main Discussions page, because it covers more than just the Disney deal. But it's fine here, too, because the Disney deal is part of it.

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  3. I have to disagree that most pre-1980s movies are worthless. You are ignoring some great silent films like Birth of a Nation and Wings; the best work of directors like Orson Welles, Carol Reed and Hitchcock; and great actors like Gary Cooper, Cary Grant and James Stewart. Was there schlock before 1980--of course, but there is also a lot of post-1980 schlock, including a lot of the film's showing up on Netflix recently that are direct-to-DVD (presumably because no one would watch them in a movie theater) or films with some of the worst performances by big-name actors. If Netflix wants to have a good selection of films, it's going to have to stop showing junk.

    Netflix has two problems. Unlike Amazon, they seem to be totally averse to doing deals with independen t studios. Amazon now has exclusive deals with A24, Music Box Films and Europa (home of the Taken series) and will be taking over Netflix's exclusive deal with Open Road Films (distributor of Spotlight) beginning in 2017. HBO and Starz have the big studios (except for Disney) but there are a lot of small, independent studios putting out some very good content. I don't know why they have not pursued these studios. Often their content is so under the radar that they could probably stream on Netflix within 60 days of their theatrical release.

    Second, Netflix has to move away from this notion that it can show movies on its streaming service at the same time as the movies are released in theaters. Netflix outbid others for one of the best films at Sundance, yet the movie sold for a lesser amount to a distributor because the distributor guaranteed a theatrical release with a lot of money behind it. Beast of No Nations may be a very good movie but it grossed $50,000 at movie theaters and there are many people who believe that its extremely short theatrical release and low gross were the reasons it was not nominated for any Oscars. It is going to take a long time, if ever, to convince a lot of actors (Adam Sandler excepted) and directors to release movies theatrically and streaming at the same time. In fact, Netflix bought the streaming rights, not the theatrical rights, to most of the movies they bought at Sundance. I have no idea when these films will show up on Netflix but I wouldn't expect to see them without at least a 60-90 theatrical "window", which is what Amazon is doing. There are not a lot of films that I would rush out to see if I knew they would be available on Netflix within 90 days. I would be shocked if the new Disney films came to Netflix within six months, and the Marvel and Star Wars movies probably won't appear on Netflix for 9 to 12 months. (I think the latest Avengers movie on Starz was released theatrically more than nine months ago.). These movies have incredibly long box office lives, then there is a window for DVD sales and VOD. If Netflix thought we would wait to see the Disney films, why can't we wait 60 to 120 days to watch their first-run films, particularly if they bring better actors, directors and scripts to Netflix? Again, the issue isn't money--Netflix is happy to throw money around. The real issue is prestige, which most actors, screenwriters and directors equate with an exclusive theatrical release. I'm not saying that Hollywood is necessarily right and Netflix is wrong; that's just the way things work. And by buying just streaming rights, Netflix seems to be admitting that it can't beat the system.

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    1. Thanks, Wellesley72. It's interesting to see how the movers and shakers move things around, and shake things up. It doesn't feel like we have much power or say in how it turns out. I'm not completely sure how I feel about it all.

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    2. Thanks for the reply, Wellesley72. I agree with all your comments. My intent on saying that older movies were "worthless" was from a fiscal perspective as the majority of Netflix users aren't interested in old content (hence why Netflix attests to why practically any content from the last few years is more valuable to their bottom line). I personally love any great cinema from any time period.

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  4. With about 50 Disney titles streaming, that seems about right to me. It's just like one of my favorites, "the Classics". I used to get upset when a bunch were about to expire. Then I realized that the titles are rotated. So I had a bunch of new titles to watch, then a few months later all the other ones came back. As for kids, I wouldn't worry too much. The kids section is delightful and the biggest problem is getting my grandchildren to decide upon one to watch. They enjoy having their own section in which they can pick anything they want to watch - without Gram entering the room to see them watching "The Walking Dead"!

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  5. Disney deal with Netflix was a waste of money for them. We have less Disney content this year than we had last year. So much for there promise of more Disney content.

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  6. According to a blog post on the Netflix Media Center web site, the first of Disney's movies under its deal with Netflix (movies theatrically released after 12/31/15) will hit Netflix in September. Most (but certainly not all) of the Disney content coming off is straight-to-DVD content or movies televised on the Disney Channel. My guess is that most of this content is being repurposed onto one of Disney's "free" cable channels or onto Disney's premium cable channel. (Yes, in addition to all the existing Disney channels available on cable and included in most cable packages, there is also a premium Disney channel you can buy for an extra monthly fee!). While I am sure that doesn't make you feel any better, this is the same old story for any licensed content--it eventually has an end date. Why is it not being renewed? Either Disney doesn't want to renew the licenses or Netflix doesn't want to pay for the expiring content. Given the amount of money Netflix is spending on its own "originals" aimed at children, my guess is that Netflix doesn't want to pay for content you can find elsewhere. Again, not a great answer if you like Disney content. You can do a search with the word Disney on the Netflix site that will bring up a partial list of Disney content that is available on Netflix.

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  7. Hulu has a bunch of new Disney content. I really wanted to drop them in November when my discount ends but now I have no choice to stay with them. I really have no chose to stay with Amazon Prime either. Because of the cheap CEO not getting more licensed content I am forced to sub to three services to get as much as I want and I am still missing stuff I want to see.

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  8. Zootopia the only new Disney movie on there so far. Great movie too bad we lost more than we gained. Just hope the new Alice in Wonderland and the new Jungle book goes on NF.

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    1. Hi Tony - In the article about the Miramax "refresh," there was mention of the Disney deal, which said, "That means The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia and Alice Through the Looking Glass as well as Finding Dory, Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Like you, I'm hoping that part of the article was right on.

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  9. Apparently there is a rumor that Disney might be purchasing Netflix. Should be interesting to see if this turns into anything.

    http://exstreamist.com/is-disney-going-to-buy-netflix-rumors-circulating/

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    1. Interesting - thanks for sending this along, Apple. Netflix has seemed so invested in its "original content" plan, it somehow doesn't make sense that they're ready to sell out, and take the money and run. Maybe they're starting to see that original content might not be such a sure thing. And it is 50 billion smackeroos we're talkin' about.

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    2. I would not mind Disney buying Netflix. First thing to do is fire the current CEO Reed Hastings would be a great start. Then actually license more content and bring back some ABC shows they actually took off.

      They can still make there crap original content which I mostly hate but not the 50% which would mean way less licensed content crap that the CEO is pulling now.

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  10. The new Jungle book movie is coming to Netflix this month November in the US not just Canada so looks like the new Disney deal is finally doing some good.

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  11. Some Disney content came in today. Both The Emperor's New Groove and Lilo and Stitch returned and other content appearing include The Lizzie McGuire movie, Sky High, The Pacifier, the first Chronicles of Narnia, Glory Road, Hannah Montana: The Movie, Heavyweights, and Mr. Magoo.

    Suspected for a while now that we'd be getting some library titles from Disney's vast collection. And although it's not the A-list animated ones some people like myself were hoping for, it is hopefully the tip of the iceberg.

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  12. An interesting article on this subject.

    http://decider.com/2016/11/14/every-disney-movie-and-show-on-netflix/

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  13. It seems the rumor is here to stay.

    http://exstreamist.com/another-rumor-of-disney-buying-netflix-has-popped-up/

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