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Report: Netflix in talks to keep Marvel, Star Wars content

NetflixBuilding4Netflix is reportedly in discussions with Walt Disney about retaining streaming rights to Marvel and Star Wars films, after Disney said it would pull content from the service in 2019.

Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, told Reuters that Netflix is in talks about retaining the rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases after its current US deal with Disney expires in 2019.

He reportedly described Disney’s plans to launch its own direct-to-customer SVOD offering in the US as a natural and expected evolution for a traditional media company, and said he expected the Disney service to complement Netflix.

Disney has had an first window pay TV output deal with Netflix since 2012, but said last week that it will not renew when the agreement ends in 2019, pulling Disney and Pixar films and TV shows from the service.

Disney said it plans to launch a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019, at the same time as it agreed to pay US$1.58 billion (€1.34 billion) to up its stake in video streaming technology firm BAMTech.

The new branded service will become Disney’s exclusive home for SVOD viewing in the US and will show the latest Disney and Pixar films – beginning with new titles like Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and a live-action version of The Lion King.

Disney also plans to launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018.

News of Disney’s SVOD plans caused Netflix’s share price to drop roughly 6% last week before climbing again by 1% on Friday.

Despite this modest decline, a report in US financial magazine Barron’s this week claimed that Netflix’s shares could drop more than 50% in the future as Disney leaves the service and competition from the likes of Amazon, Facebook and Google intensifies.

Barron’s described a “gaping divide” between Netflix’s free cash flow and its paper profits and termed Disney’s departure is “troubling”. Read Barron’s full analysis here.

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