Netflix and Disney: The good news and the bad news

Yes, Netflix is going to get access to lots of great Disney, LucasFilm, and Marvel movies...in 2016.

People who like to moan about there not being anything to watch on Netflix are over-joyed that Netflix has just signed an exclusive movie deal with Disney. I'm excited about it too, but there's one little thing we all seem to be forgetting: We're not going to see any of this new big-time content until 2016. 

Don't get me wrong. It's a great deal. In the short run, by 2013, Netflix will be getting "high-profile Disney direct-to-video new releases." In other words, that's not going to be top favorite titles such as Beauty and the Beast or Lion King, but I'm sure it will be something that your children will like. Netflix will also get some older Disney titles in the same time-frame. This will include such movies as Dumbo, Pocahontas, and Alice in Wonderland.

Besides the usual kids movies you might think of us when you hear "Disney" movie, come 2016 we're also going to get the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the Star Wars saga, and Marvel super-hero movies. Indeed, since Disney is scheduled to release its first new Star Wars movie in 2015, the first place you'd be able to watch it, once it's done with its theatrical release, will be on Netflix.

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You see, with the Disney/Netflix deal, Netflix will become the exclusive U.S. subscription television service for first-run, live-action and animated feature films. Those "exclusive" and "first-run" clauses mean that Netflix, not HBO or Showtime, will get the rights to show Disney's films seven to nine months after they first show up in the theaters. 

Netflix may end up paying about $300-million a year for its Disney deal, but it will probably be worth it. As popular as Netflix has been, its lack of a supplier for recent, popular movies has long been Netflix subscribers' biggest complaint. Better still, Netflix is saying it won't be passing on the price of this deal to us. Now, if only the full deal could kick in sooner so I could watch the Avengers on Netflix streaming I'd be a completely happy man. Oh well, they tell me patience is a virtue.

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