Nobody likes logging onto Netflix and finding out one of their favorite shows or movies has mysteriously disappeared from the service. Fans of the show Futurama nearly rioted when it was announced all the show’s old episodes would be removed from the service starting in July. I can’t blame you if you don’t want to live on this planet anymore, and that’s word to Hubert Farnsworth.
But the Futurama exit was a sign of a growing trend in streaming service world, with companies increasingly moving toward building their own ecosystems for content. Disney joined that club on August 8, when they announced the acquisition of a streaming-video company, intent on removing Disney titles from other streaming libraries and releasing new movies exclusively through a Disney-branded service, starting in 2019.
For Netflix, it looked like the jig was up. In case you forgot, Disney owns a lot of huge properties in the cinematic world, including Marvel and Lucasfilm, giving them control over where and when you can see the new superhero blockbusters and Star Wars films once they’re out of theaters. For some older fans, the potential loss of these films from Netflix would have been a big blow, and a much bigger concern than not being able to see new Pixar drops in 2019.
Thankfully, it sounds like Netflix is doing everything in their power to ensure that doesn’t happen. According to a new report from Reuters, Netflix is in negotiations for the right to keep Marvel and Star Wars movies within their library after 2019.
It’s an important battle for the streaming company. With so many of their big television show properties tied to the Marvel brand—Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones to name a few—they count on a big portion of their audience being invested in the Marvel universe. Having the blockbuster movies alongside Netflix/Marvel originals keeps their viewers engaged and contained, which is invaluable for them as a company. There’s not a similar tie-in with Star Wars shows on Netflix, but make no mistake, those movies still rank among the biggest draws in film, and Netflix won’t want to lose them.
Frankly, consumers should probably be rooting for Netflix to keep these big names in their stable. As more and more streaming services begin to pop up for individual companies, you’ll start having to pay more individual fees to be able to keep up with your favorite shows and movies. So long as there are central “hubs” for entertainment like Netflix, you can get the most bang for your buck, assuming they don’t have to up the cost of your a subscription to subsidize keeping your favorite films around.
Since the companies are already at the negotiation table, it’s probably safe to take that as a positive sign for their relationship moving forward. But in case its not, be sure to watch all those Star Wars and Marvel movies you haven’t gotten to yet, in case they’re locked behind a Disney paywall in a couple years.