Netflix is a place where you can watch some of your favorite shows — new and old — and original series such as “Orange is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and “Master of None.” But on the blockbuster movie front, the streaming service hasn’t had much to offer ... until now.
Netflix struck a deal with Disney in 2012 to have the exclusive rights to stream new films from Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and Walt Disney Animation Studios. The deal finally goes into effect this September.
The Frame's John Horn spoke with Alisha Grauso — a contributing writer at Forbes and editor-at- large for the web site, Movie Pilot — to examine the significance of the deal.
What does Netflix's exclusive deal with Disney actually mean for the company?
All new movies in 2016 from this point forward will only be released on Netflix. If you want to find anything from "Captain America: Civil War," to "Jungle Book," to "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" — anything coming out of Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar — will only be found on Netflix. It cannot be found on any other streaming platform. It won't be found on cable channels, it won't be found on premium pay channels and networks.
One of the bigger stories on Netflix is how much it is spending to get and produce original content. Netflix has said that it will spend $5 billion on original programming this year, and $6 billion next year, but it’s not really in the big blockbuster business, right?
It's not, but it is making original content. It did, for example, "Beasts of No Nation," which got quite a bit of acclaim and it is doing original series really well. Netflix and Marvel have formed a really strong partnership with the original series "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones," which were really well received. And then they have a handful of other Marvel properties that are in development, turning them into series as well. They've just been doing crazy numbers on Netflix.
Well let's talk about those crazy numbers, because Netflix famously doesn't say how many people watch what shows, but there have been a couple of independent studies that looked at how many people were watching "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones," which are both Marvel properties. What did those numbers from those independent analysis show?
An independent company, Luth Research, did a study and determined that about 11% of Netflix subscribers stream "Daredevil," which is more than "House of Cards," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," more than other Netflix series, so it was doing quite well.
For me, the more telling figures were last year, NBCUniversal and The Firm — an independent research for Symphony — partnered to look at streaming video-on-demand to see how it stacked up against the traditional networks and cable outlets. They estimated that the ratings for "Jessica Jones," which was the second Marvel series that was adapted, averaged about 4.8 million viewers per episode in the 18-49 demographic, which is that all-important demographic.
So, putting that into perspective, that's actually a higher per-episode-average than Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which airs...
On the broadcast network ABC, right?
Yeah, so that averages about 3.4 million viewers. I mean, "Jessica Jones" was outpacing, per episode, by well over a million viewers, and that's a huge number.
Is Netflix going after Amazon and Hulu and the other streaming sites? Or is it really going after HBO and Showtime and even the broadcast networks?
I think Netflix is kind of going after both. Right now, they seem to be putting all of their weight behind their original content, which kind of indicates that they're going after HBO, networks, cable channels. But at the same time, all of the other streaming services, like Hulu and Amazon, they have their own shows. But it seems like they're trying to play catch-up with Netflix. But this partnership with Disney and Marvel has been phenomenal for them and for their branding. Now there are rumors that they might start adapting "Star Wars" series for Netflix. That's the next big hope, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen either.