Inside the Deal That Amazon and Disney+ Finally Worked Out

Not long before Disney+ was to go live, there was still word it wouldn’t be available on Amazon’s Fire TV devices due to advertising disagreements. Flash-forward to a little later in time when the Mouse House managed to wrangle a deal with Amazon at the last minute after all.

It was another example of how well Disney can do deals while richly helping themselves in the process. Had Disney+ not been available on Fire TV, it’s possible they wouldn’t have reached the 10 million subscribers they reportedly had on the first day.

What went into these last-second negotiations, and how did it factor into gaining licensing rights back to some of Disney’s movie properties? It’s also not just Fire TV that made the subscriber difference if including having Disney+ available on Samsung smart TVs.

Disney+ logo on a tablet
Disney+ logo | Chesnot/Getty Images

Fire TV is one of the biggest streaming services in the world

Next to Roku, Fire TV has dominated the streaming platform landscape in every American home. Those who have Fire TV were no doubt pleasantly surprised to find the Disney+ app there after maybe having apprehension about it not being there on November 12.

No doubt this was why Star Wars: The Force Awakens was available on Disney+ after streaming on Amazon lately.

The initial disagreement was over advertising all Disney apps, including Disney Channel, ABC, and ESPN. Amazon might have looked at that initially as Disney trying to muscle their way in on advertising profits, somewhat like what happened with Sony.

As we’re seeing, though, Disney is going about their negotiations with other companies in a way to quickly iron out differences. Finding an agreement with Amazon so fast is still kind of a surprise.

At the helm of it is Amazon being seemingly excited at the deal themselves, which might sound impossible. When they recently said that Fire TV users can “tell Alexa to play Disney+”, there was likely public amazement at what tech negotiations can bring.

Disney was able to negotiate deals with other major companies

Those with Samsung smart TVs will have noticed by now the Disney+ app is available there as well. Since Samsung smart TVs are very plentiful now in many living rooms, this was another major coup by Disney to dominate millions of homes.

On top of this, Disney+’s app is available on LG TV’s, Apple TV devices, plus platforms made by Microsoft and Google. In a time when these companies are competing furiously for dominance in media, call it a miracle they all came to an agreement, no doubt in some kind of deal benefiting both.

All of this can clearly be attributed to having Bob Iger still in the CEO chair, something we’ll see come to an end in a couple of more years. He’s obviously trying to get a lot done before he leaves so things will be set automatically for Disney to dominate in the best possible way that doesn’t break antitrust laws.

According to other sources, Disney+ wasn’t quite as complicated in working out complications with Fire TV since the former platform doesn’t have ads, something we could see change later if they invest heavily in more originals.

Only one streaming device doesn’t carry Disney+

Thus far, Nintendo Switch is the only streaming device (at the moment) where you can’t find Disney+, even if users of that don’t really dominate the marketplace. Just about every streaming device available in the world will now carry Disney+, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

It now sets Disney+ up to become the dominating force in the streaming world everyone thinks they’ll be over the next couple of years.

While Amazon continues to face questions about its power in the world of e-commerce and technology, it’s worth pondering if Disney will have to renegotiate with Amazon later when Disney+ becomes more powerful.

Much like Disney’s relationship with Sony, these corporate streaming relationships may be playing out like a complicated marriage into the 2020s.