Disney is taking its toys away from Netflix and going home, but the SVOD is trying to make sure Disney doesn’t get all of them.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters that his company is in “active discussions” with Disney to hang on to the rights for current and upcoming “Star Wars” and Marvel films.
Sarandos’ comments come after Disney this week announced plans to launch its own Disney-branded streaming service that would offer Disney and Pixar films as well as a slate of original TV series and movies. Due to the plans, Disney said it would no longer offer its films on Netflix beginning with the 2019 film slate.
But Disney said that it had yet to decide what approach it would take with its "Star Wars" and Marvel films.
Now it looks like there’s a possibility those films will stay put on Netflix. But the live-action and animated Disney and Pixar films will depart Netflix, something that Sarandos doesn’t sound too broken up about.
He told Reuters that he hopes Disney’s streaming service would be “complementary” to Netflix and that Disney’s plans to strike out on its own with streaming is a “natural evolution.”
"That's why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks" regarding licensing content, Sarandos told the publication, in comments that echo Disney CEO Bob Iger’s thoughts on the matter.
During Disney’s earnings call Tuesday, Iger was careful to position the discontinuation of its agreement with Netflix not as a falling out with the SVOD, but as more of a logical next step. Iger said that the Disney deal gave Netflix some marquee content while it was still ramping up its original content slate, which it has since done aggressively to the tune of a $6 billion content budget for 2017.