When it comes to universally beloved franchises, odds are that Disney owns at least a portion of it. The studio has slowly gobbled up Hollywood’s most lucrative properties over the years, acquiring The Muppets, Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, and Lucasfilm along the way. At this point, if it’s a thing you love to watch, Disney probably owns it.
With no interest in slowing down in the slightest, a recent rumor claims that Netflix could very well be the next company to join the House of Mouse. According to Tech Crunch, Disney is “eyeing Netflix amidst declining ESPN subscriber numbers and now-undeniable cord-cutting,” in a move that “would get the mother of them all” for the studio. So what exactly does this mean? Let’s investigate.
1. Netflix would give Disney incredible power
Tech Crunch makes a collection of solid points concerning what exactly Disney would be buying if they acquired Netflix. First, they’d be getting “the largest global OTT [over-the-top] video footprint (by an order of a magnitude) and the one premium OTT brand that is universal.” Second, Disney would gain full access to Netflix’s vast stores of user data, described by Tech Crunch as “invaluable.”
For Netflix, they get to sell high, following reports of their industry-leading Q3 profit numbers. All the while, the streaming platform gets a huge boost under Disney ownership “as it tries to meet its 50% original content goal amidst competitors who drive up those costs higher, faster.” All that is without even diving into the fact that every other studio that wants their content on Netflix moving forward would have to play ball with Disney, putting rival studios at the mercy of their biggest competitor.
2. The groundwork has already been laid
If you’ll recall, this isn’t the first time Disney and Netflix have made headlines together. This September, a three-year-old pact kicked in for Netflix, making it the “the exclusive U.S. pay-TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.” While not entirely relevant to the latest news concerning a full-blown buy-out, it’s worth noting if for no other reason than to demonstrate that Disney has a history of playing nice with Netflix. Buying the streaming service outright seems like a natural progression in the relationship between the two parties, taking their already-strong partnership to the next level entirely.
3. This could finally get us a live-action Star Wars TV series
The idea for a live-action Star Wars TV series has been around for years now. Back in 2005, Lucasfilm developed the concept for Star Wars: Underworld. The show was billed by producer Rick McCallum as “Deadwood in space,” and even featured a screenplay written by sci-fi legend Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica). Budgetary concerns stalled the project for years though, before Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm shelved it indefinitely. Today, the studio has upwards of a hundred Underworld scripts gathering dust in a basement.
Contextualized with the possibility of Netflix selling off to Disney, Underworld seems all that more possible. TV Line even reported on a rumor a few months back, claiming “Netflix was in negotiations with Disney to develop a live-action Star Wars series to debut as early as 2017.” If Disney ends up owning the streaming service, bringing back Underworld (or at least some sort of Star Wars TV series) suddenly becomes that much easier for all involved.
4. What a Disney/Netflix deal could mean for Marvel
Netflix is already the home for a large majority of Marvel’s TV universe, after Marvel gradually scaled back its network TV presence following the cancellation of Agent Carter and Marvel’s Most Wanted. Now, that feels like a definitively preemptive move toward bigger and better things. Marvel continues to expand its Netflix offerings, having green-lit a Punisher series earlier this year. Things will only get bigger from there; 2017 will give us Iron Fist and The Defenders, followed soon thereafter by The Punisher, and then additional seasons of Jessica Jones and Daredevil. With that all in mind, it makes a whole lot of sense for Marvel to have Netflix fall under the Disney umbrella once and for all.
5. This would represent a win-win for all involved
A potential Disney/Netflix deal benefits everyone, period. “Disney and Netflix are logical dance partners,” Tech Crunch points out, “and, just as we saw with the 50/50 cash and stock financial engineering that enabled AT&T to buy Time Warner, ever-creative Disney undoubtedly has the talent to pull it off.” It’s not just the companies participating that stand to benefit from this though. Customers end up reaping the benefits as well, buoyed by an expanded streaming library from Netflix, and more from both the Star Wars and the Marvel side of Disney. The bottom line: Disney gets the biggest on-demand streaming company in the world, and we get another platform for our favorite franchises.
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