'Star Wars' may come to Netflix, sort of, thanks to exclusive Disney deal

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is setting its lineup for the summer and well into the fall, with a slate of exclusive content scheduled thanks to its relationship with Disney and its related properties -- a deal that will lock out Starz and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) from new Disney movies and potentially make the ongoing content licensing battle red hot.

"From September onwards, Netflix will become the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar," said content head Ted Sarandos in a blog post on Netflix's website.

According to Forbes, those films include the currently-in-theaters Captain America: Civil War and Zootopia, and the upcoming Alice: Through the Looking Glass, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Netflix's exclusives deal with Disney, signed in 2012 and going into effect after its licensing agreement with Starz lapsed, cost the SVOD provider a reported $300 million. But it is already paying off handsomely according to at least one analyst firm, Luth Research, which estimates that more than 10 percent of Netflix's subscribers have streamed its original series Daredevil, Forbes reports. Other Marvel properties such as Jessica Jones, another Netflix original series may be doing quite well in terms of streaming popularity. That payoff could likely continue over the next several months, particularly with the highly anticipated Rogue One in the wings.

For Marvel series that aren't doing so well in the traditional TV ratings game, Netflix could provide a safe haven and a new life. The recently cancelled Agent Carter is rumored to be under consideration for a reboot (though it's less certain that star Hayley Atwell will come back aboard) -- providing a lighter action series to contrast the dark and brooding Marvel characters that have dominated its original content lineup so far.

In the meantime, a number of non-exclusive movies will be leaving Netflix's content lineup starting in June, Sarandos said, "while what is arriving is exclusive to Netflix among streaming subscription video services." These include several of its own original films such as Brahman Naman, Tallulah, and The Little Prince.

For more:
- see this Forbes article
- see this Netflix blog post
- see this ExStreamist article

Related articles:
Starz pulls back the curtain on streaming video vendors, operations
Disney-owned ESPN's star wanes as revenues miss analyst estimates
Netflix aims to break viewer browsing habits through one simple change -- its artwork