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Netflix will soon be the only place to find Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel movies

In the cutthroat world of streaming services, Netflix has often been perceived as the 800-pound gorilla in the room, even as the total amount of content available on the service continues to drop. Netflix has been investing huge amounts of money in creating its own shows, many of which have been critically acclaimed. But this hasn’t been a perfect effort — if you love Doctor Who, getting more episodes of Daredevil or Jessica Jones isn’t exactly a replacement, even if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its various television shows.

Now the company has announced that starting in September, it won’t just be the premier destination for video content, it’s going to be only place to find material from certain companies. The company blog post states: “From September onwards, Netflix will become the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest films from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar.”

There’s a lot of weaseling packed into just one sentence. For one thing, while Netflix claims it’ll be home to the latest films from these franchises, what counts as “the latest?” Does that mean Guardians of the Galaxy, The Force Awakens, or Inside Out, or is this a deal that’ll only govern material released after the agreement was signed? Will the original Star Wars movies come to Netflix, or any of the Disney classics? These kinds of questions will play into how aggressively Netflix can market itself as the only way to find these films online as well as how much the company would’ve had to pay to become the one-stop shop for all things Disney, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Marvel.

Unfortunately, the one constant in the modern streaming market is that today’s exclusive is tomorrow’s vanished content. When services like Netflix were new, users fantasized about a future in which a universe of content would be accessible for one low monthly price. Offer someone the chance to access everything from every studio, and $15 – $20 per month might seem a bargain. Instead, we’ve seen content chopped up and split across services. CBS is hoping Star Trek will be enough of a draw to pull in viewer’s for its CBS Direct service, Netflix has just locked up Disney content, Hulu has South Park and The Simpsons — the list goes on. And the proliferation of zero-rated services run by wireless providers and ISPs as a means of enticing consumers to use their own platforms means that before long, we’ll be back at the same point we were in before the digital revolution began.

We’re not sure what to make of the Netflix announcement just yet, precisely because of how brief it is. Locking down exclusive rights to the Disney empire should be a huge deal for the company. It could bring in a flood of temporary revenue from streamers who might terminate once the deal ends, but would still be interested in gorging in the short term on the rush of material from four major studios that all have classic and beloved films dating back decades. The fact that Netflix hasn’t said more about the win makes us wonder just how wide-reaching it is, and whether it’ll actually cover a broad base of franchises and decades of film.

Bonus points if Netflix releases a digitally remastered version of the Star Wars Holiday Special.

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