Netflix wins exclusive deal to stream Disney movies

Netflix has signed a deal with Walt Disney Studios that gives the company the first license to show Disney’s first-run, live-action and animated films.

The multi-year deal won’t come into effect until 2016, but will give Netflix access to movies after they’re made available for sale and to rent – the same ‘pay TV window’ available to HBO, Showtime and the like.

The agreement covers titles from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature. Disney direct-to-video new releases will be made available next year.

And through a separate deal, popular Disney catalog titles such as Pocahontas, The Aristocats and One Magic Christmas will be available on Netflix from today.

“Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest-quality, most imaginative family films being made today,” says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix.

“It’s a bold leap forward for internet television and we are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen.”

The agreement is very much a first of its kind. Netflix normally acquires content via pay-TV services, and until earlier this year had access to Disney movies through a licensing agreement with Starz.

But it’s consistently had trouble negotiating with some major studios, losing its exclusive agreement with Epix earlier this year. Epix promptly struck a deal with Amazon Prime Video instead.

The new deal is a big win for the company – and no doubt didn’t come cheap.