We already knew that Disney's time on streaming services like Netflix was limited, with the company's very public plans to start its own offering. But now with Disney's plan to purchase Fox, a lot more content could be on the way out. It would seem to be a foregone conclusion that as Disney and Fox see current streaming deals expire, no new deals will be signed, in order to give Disney the ability to put everything it wants on the new Disney service planned for 2019. Disney won't have much, if any, downtime as the current deal the studio has with Netflix will end the same year. However, Fox properties will still be available elsewhere until at least 2022, as that studio has an existing deal with HBO.
Streaming video has become a major part of how film studio's go to market, which is why Disney is interested in starting its own service. Content is king when it comes to success, and for Disney that will mean having as much material that people will want to watch as possible. The addition of Fox will greatly help in that regard, though the fact that Fox has an existing deal with HBO may mean that a lot of content that would otherwise end up on Disney's streaming service may not show up for a few years. While HBO traditionally has a particular window in which it releases films, there's always a handful of older titles also available on HBO Now. Depending on exactly how the Fox and HBO deal is constructed, Fox movies will, at the very least, show up a few months after a Disney film with a similar theatrical release.
This will be a silver lining for those who aren't excited to be potentially adding yet another streaming service to their monthly expenditures. Once Disney and Fox see the existing deals expire it's unlikely either studio will be signing any new ones. Although, USA Today does point out there's a possibility that additional material from Disney and/or Fox could end up on Hulu. Disney will become the majority stakeholder in that service once the deal is finalized, as both studios owned 30%. Comcast (Universal) also owns 30% while Time Warner (Warner Bros.) has 10%. Disney head Bob Iger has said that the Disney streaming service will only contain material that's consistent with Disney's overall brand, so it's possible the more adult and less family-friendly material from Fox could find a streaming home there.
We have a few more years before the streaming landscape changes drastically, though Disney's service will likely be a major player from day one when it launches in 2019. When the Fox catalog is free and clear a few years later, however, things could be quite different.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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