Say what you will about Netflix, but the big red streaming giant has had a massive string of success lately. Subscribers have been pouring in left and right, both at home and internationally. Netflix has been rated more popular than its closest two competitors combined and Netflix series racked up more nominations at this year’s Emmy Awards than any other streaming service. With so much going for it, what could go wrong for Netflix? A lot, says the Walt Disney Company. Today, Disney announced it was ending its licensing agreement with Netflix and will be pulling all of its new releases from the streaming leader.
The news caused an immediate 1.6% drop in Netflix’s stock price on today’s markets. The agreement with Netflix was first signed over five years ago, but Disney releases didn’t appear in Netflix’s libraries until 2016. Several recent Disney releases like the children’s animated film Moana and Star Wars: Rogue One have become some of the most popular series on Netflix. Why would Disney pull its films and series from the streaming giant?
Why, for one obvious reason: Disney is likely eyeing the launch of its own streaming service. Why else? Of course, Disney hasn’t yet released any concrete plans, but Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted at a potential video-on-demand service in a conference call with investors that even though there aren’t any (announced) concrete plans, such a service is definitely within the realm of possibility:
We have had discussion internally about how best to bring them to consumers. It’s possible we can license to a pay service like Netflix but it’s premature to say what we can do.
Just imagine how successful a Disney streaming service would be, especially if they released some of their highly-anticipated upcoming sequels straight-to-streaming. A Disney streaming service, if stocked with an extensive library of classic hand-drawn Disney films as well as newer faire, they would likely instantly become the preferred cable cutting option for households with children – of all ages. I don’t care how old you are, you can’t deny Disney knows how to make a great film and score an amazing soundtrack. ESPN, which is owned by Disney, is also rumored to be launching their own streaming service sometime in 2018.
Netflix has yet to respond for comment about the breakup with Disney. Rumors have it that the streaming service will be at home in its pajamas binge-watching itself with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s for the next few days until it deletes its Facebook, hits the gym, and goes shopping.