Remember when Starz was all like, “Hey Netflix, we’re not going to be friends with you anymore?” earlier in the year? If you don’t, that’s probably because it really didn’t matter. There was not all that much in the way of worthwhile content from them. Well now Starz is getting a little payback. Disney, which currently has a deal with Starz to distribute its films, is done with them. The contract that currently exists expires in 2016, and Netflix is going to pick it right up.
What this means, is that starting in 2016, titles released theatrically by Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, and Disneynature (and presumably Lucasfilm as well, although it’s not mentioned in the press release) will be be made available for Netflix subscribers to watch instantly.
Aware that this means basically nothing to the vast majority of people (2016 is approximately a million years away), the deal also includes direct-to-video releases which will be available starting early next year and a separate deal will reach into Disney’s back-catalog and put films up onto the service as well, which, as you’ll see in our awesome weekly Netflix Now feature, have already started showing up. The films referred to in the press release are Dumbo, Pocahontas, and Alice in Wonderland, the latter of which is very much unlike the others. Considering the absolutely massive number of films that this deal could potentially pull from, I’m really quite excited to see how this turns out.
2016 is a rather long way away, but it’s definitely a sign of the changing times. If deals like this continue to be made, Netflix will finally become the de facto source of all streaming content ever. I am totally okay with that.[Bloomberg, Via Ars Technica]