It won't be long before you can no longer Netflix and chill with Disney movies on the streaming platform. Slowly, Disney movies are being removed and pretty soon, there may be none left. If you had every intention of re-watching Zootopia to your heart’s content, you might be wondering why Disney movies are leaving Netflix and whether or not they will return at some point in the future.
Disney is actually launching their own streaming platform, so it makes sense that they are taking some of their most loved movies back from Netflix to get ready for its debut. This means that while you might lose some of your Disney favorites from Netflix, the Disney streaming app will have everything in one place.
In August 2017, Disney announced plans to end its licensing agreement with Netflix and start to remove some Disney content from the platform. In 2012, Disney signed an agreement to allow Netflix to have the pay-TV window, which means it is the first streaming option after a movie is released on DVD and Blu-ray. The deal began for movies released in 2016 onward and although some movies are being removed from Netflix, they aren't all going to be taken off at once.
When the announcement about Disney’s own streaming service came in 2017, Disney officials told Polygon that Netflix would continue to carry certain Disney movies for the time being. "U.S. Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018," a Disney representative said.
Disney chief Bob Iger also told Polygon that the goal has always been to take Disney content and use it for Disney’s own streaming service rather than continue to spread it out across other platforms.
"We have to be careful because we have existing agreements and existing relationships and a lot of value still being reaped from the traditional distribution relationships," Iger said. "But I can tell you that it is our full intent to go out there aggressively with digital offerings direct to the consumer for ESPN and other Disney-branded properties."
The Disney streaming service is set for a late 2019 release, but even then, don't expect everything Disney-related to leave Netflix right away. I’m sure that, eventually, the service will have more Disney-owned titles than future competitors like Netflix and Hulu, but the plan is to first focus on big Marvel titles and franchises, which is to be expected, given their wide fan bases. It’s also unclear how much the Disney streaming service will cost.
In January, Uger said that he still wasn't sure how much the monthly cost will be, but that it will reflect on the lesser amount of content the service will have compared to other platforms. And, he said, the service will also focus on original high-quality content.
I wouldn’t get out your pitchfork just yet, though. There is some good that comes from a streaming platform dedicated to Disney-owned content, even if it takes some away from Netflix. Fans of Marvel movies and the Star Wars franchise will be able to stream their favorite movies more easily. And if original content related to other Disney franchises are made specially for the service, that’s another bonus. As it stands, all Disney movies aren’t leaving Netflix right away, but as the end of 2019 gets closer, the Disney streaming platform will likely need more content to fill up its slots for new users.
Because the Disney app will have less content than Netflix, it won't be a straight up competitor, but it means that eventually, viewers won't be able to find all of their Disney favorites on Netflix.