As much as Disney+ is shaping up to be a juggernaut in the streaming industry, there are some battles it cannot win. The new platform will still have to give some titles to its competitor, Netflix, thanks to longstanding licensing deals. This will be a buffer for Netflix for at least a while after Disney+ launches next week.
Disney has been pulling out all the stops to get fans hyped up for Disney+, its all-in-one streaming service for animation, Pixar, live action, Star Wars and Marvel content, among many other things. The service is offering up an amazing catalogue of classics and new material, all at a price threatening to sink existing competitors like Netflix.
However, before Disney+ was an established plan for the company, it had licensed some of its biggest properties to other services, and now it has to wait a while to get them back. According to a report by CNET, Disney was still letting Netflix license movies and shows up until very recently, so some of those properties will stay there for years to come.
Not only are titles staying on Netflix, but some are actually moving back there after debuting on Disney+. CNET reported that the contracts stipulate that "popular movies from 2016 through 2018" will move "off Disney+ back onto Netflix in about six years." There are no further details on the structure of these contracts.
This is a big relief for Netflix, which is suddenly going from the biggest fish in the pond to the the prey. While Netflix's original content is beloved and, in many cases, the cutting edge of entertainment, it cannot compete with the nostalgia factor of licensed material. No service offers a bigger dose of that than Disney.
The Disney+ catalogue offers everything from classic movies to niches TV shows, in every genre, for every age group, going back nearly a century. The company is pulling no punches with this power either. It is launching its service at a price of $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year — undercutting Netflix, whose prices have risen several times in the last few years.
Disney has also banned Netflix advertisements on its platforms to help squash its competitor, and it has systematically suffocated projects that were made in collaboration with the service. Many fans are still mourning for the Netflix MCU shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones and the Defenders.
Of course, Disney is looking to the future too, and some of its biggest intellectual properties will have Disney+ debuts in the coming months. With the launch of the app comes the premiere of The Mandalorian, a Star Wars series following a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter. Soon after there will be reboots, revivals and sequels of everything from Disney Channel shows to Marvel Cinematic Universe spinoffs.
Disney+ launches on Tuesday, Nov. 12 2019.