Last year when Disney announced it was starting its own streaming service in 2019 and would be removing all of its content from Netflix at the end of the year, most assumed that meant all of its content, including the Star Wars films. As it turns out that might not be the case.
Bloomberg is reporting that Disney is actively seeking to buy back the TV rights to their “Star Wars’’ movies from AT&T Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting, which would also included any future streaming rights. Turner Broadcasting paid $275 million for the six Star Wars movies in 2016 that were released between 1977 and 2005, plus any new titles being released. As of right now, Turner has the rights to show the films on its cable networks, which includes TNT, TBS and online until the year 2024.
Disney is hoping to change that but the AT&T-owned broadcaster has no desire to give them back, at least not at a price that the heads of Disney consider acceptable. They are also reporting that part of the deal would have to include unnamed programming to replace the lost content.
For a film first franchise such as Lucasfilm/Disney, this is obviously a big setback as being able to stream its entire library of feature length films would figure heavily into its streaming strategy. I'm sure a huge part of the reasoning behind starting their own streaming service was to be able to offer fans access to the companies ever growing library of films, which continue to be some of the highest grossing movies of all time.
Disney is guilty of being late to the streaming service game and deals like this which may have seemed beneficial at the time, have now come back to haunt them a bit.
Here's hoping the two sides can come together and work something out. I for one look forward to having all the Star Wars content in one spot, readily available with the touch of a button.
Stay tuned for more information as it comes in.
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