Some short-term thinking may have led to a long-term problem for Disney. The company is currently trying to launch their own streaming service, which will debut sometime next year. It will house much of the studio’s content, both old and new, in order to attract subscribers. However, they may not be able to include the Star Wars movies on their service due to a previous deal they made with Time Warner in 2016. That could make it a bit more difficult for the Mouse House to attract subscribers.
In 2016, Disney made a deal with Turner Broadcasting to allow theme broadcasting and internet rights for all of the Star Wars movies. Not just the ones released prior to the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012. That means even movies like The Last Jedi and the currently filming Episode IX will be housed on cable networks such as TNT and TBS as opposed to Disney’s own streaming service. The Star Wars movies are easily some of the most attractive content the studio has to offer potential subscribers and that makes this an important issue to iron out.
Turner paid around $275 million for the rights, which they have through 2024. That would be around five years once Disney launches their service until the deal expires. Disney has reportedly made an inquiry about buying the rights back, but it won’t be so simple. Turner would reportedly want financial compensation and content to replace what they’ll be losing if they sell the Star Wars rights back to Disney. That would mean Disney giving up another likely attractive chunk of content in order to get their prized franchise rights back. Not to mention a presumably very large chunk of change.
Disney’s new streaming service is going to lean heavily on a galaxy far, far away. Jon Favreau is working on the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series that will be housed exclusively on the service and it was recently announced at San Diego Comic-Con that The Clone Wars will be coming back for another season on the service as well. Having all of the previously released Star Wars movies available to stream would help make the service even more appealing. Disney has already announced they won’t be renewing their current deal with Netflix. That means all of the Disney titles currently available on Netflix won’t be there in the future.
As it stands, talks haven’t advanced between the two companies since the initial inquiry was made. Disney has some time to try and figure out a way to make this work in their favor without breaking themselves to do so. Though, they have a lot of cash tied up in the Fox deal, which is costing them more than $70 billion. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out as we get closer to the launch of the new service. This news comes to us courtesy of Bloomberg.