updated 07:32 pm EST, Tue December 4, 2012
Move doubles Netflix stock gains for the year
Netflix has emerged victorious from its negotiations to carry Disney animated and live-action films. The agreement starts in 2016, following the completion of the Liberty Media Corp-owned Starz Entertainment deal. Netflix subscribers will gain exclusive access to movies from Pixar, Marvel, and Disney, with the fate of the upcoming Star Wars movies yet to be determined.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that "It was a long slog, but ultimately we displayed enough sustainability that Netflix became a real and viable option for the pay-TV window." Disney's accord with Netflix is the first time a major studio has skipped a traditional cable TV outlet for content delivery.
Some content is available on Netflix starting tomorrow, selected from the Disney back catalog supplementing the features available from the Netflix deal with Starz. "This is a big win for Netflix," Jaison Blair, an analyst with Telsey Advisory Group in New York, said in a telephone interview. "If viewership is going to migrate away from the bundle that is going to promote the explosion of downloading demand."
Netflix beat out several other contenders for the Disney properties. The streaming video company is expected to bid aggressively for Sony Corp films when its contract with Starz ends in 2016, reported Sarandos.
A stock surge of 14 percent was generated by the news, more than doubling Netflix's year-to-date gain. Starz holding company Liberty Media fell five percent. Disney stock was essentially unaffected by the news.