On 23 May 2016, Netflix announced that several notable movie titles would be added to their streaming movie service over the summer. While the press release mentioned blockbusters such as Jurassic Parkand Academy Award-winning films such as Spotlight, online readers were most excited about the service’s inclusion of new Disney movies in their stream offerings:
From September onwards, Netflix will become the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar.
Unfortunately, this announcement was misinterpreted by several web sites in a way that soon led to false rumors holding that the entire Disney film collection would be added to Netflix’s streaming service as of September 2016. Hollywood.com, for instance, headlined a story “Prepare To Freak Out! Netflix Is Going To Stream Every Single Disney Movie.”
What readers inferred from such headlines is not what Neflix’s announcement actually said, though. Netflix informed customers that they were to become the exclusive U.S. pay TV home outlet for the latest films from Disney (as well as Marvel, LucasFilm and Pixar). In other words, new releases from the studios would be finding their way to Netflix shortly after ending their initial theatrical runs; Disney’s entire archive of films was not going to be made available via Netflix.
E! Online published a correction to their story, noting that the entire Disney collection was not coming to Netflix:
According to Netflix, this exciting new deal is only going to include brand new Disney theatrical releases. That means that while we’ll be able to stream everything that hits theaters in 2016, we won’t be able to burn through the entire Disney archives.
Netflix made their deal with Disney back in 2012, and while the streaming service did not get exclusive access to the entire Disney archive, they were able to work a deal to offer some older Disney animated classics such as Dumbo and Pocahontas:
Netflix Inc. has acquired exclusive U.S. rights to movies from Walt Disney Studios in a deal that catapults the Internet video-on-demand service into direct competition with pay TV giants such as HBO and Showtime.
The three-year agreement takes effect in 2016 and is a blow to the pay channel Starz, which currently has the rights to broadcast Disney movies, including its Pixar animated films and Marvel superhero pictures, about eight months after they are released in theaters.
Disney has also agreed to give Netflix nonexclusive streaming rights to more of its older titles — including “Dumbo,” “Pocahontas” and “Alice in Wonderland” — starting immediately.
Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, called the deal “a bold leap forward for Internet television.”
“We are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen,” he said.