The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every sector of the economy, but perhaps we’re only now truly understanding how it has altered the landscape in the world of entertainment. With movie theaters around the globe either shuttered for 4-5 months or only a handful of crazy movie fans (that would be me) watching films alone in local theaters, something had to give.
Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures Entertainment have announced an expansive content licensing agreement that will bring hundreds of Sony movies, including “Jumanji” and “Spider-Man,” to multiple Disney platforms, including Disney+ and Hulu.
The new deal, announced Wednesday, underscores the voracious appetite for content by companies that own streaming services.
The Sony/Disney deal also arrives on the heels of other decisions by leading studios to release first-run films on VOD at the same time as their theatrical release date; a decision that was met with anger on the part of AMC, Regal, and Cinemark.
The new deal Includes U.S. rights to new theatrical releases from 2022-2026 following their pay 1 television window and library titles from Sony Pictures for Disney’s streaming services and linear networks like Disney+.
The agreement provides Disney with a robust collection of Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel characters films in post-pay 1 television broadcast windows.
But like anything in Hollywood, the story is slightly more complicated.
Earlier this month Netflix purchased Sony’s streaming rights. It seems Disney+ gets movies after Netflix. Nobody is sure of the timing.
The only thing for sure is Sony is selling off streaming rights of both new and library content.
From the press release:
“The Walt Disney Company (DIS) and Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) today announced a multi-year content licensing agreement for U.S. streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases across Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution’s vast portfolio of platforms including its streaming services Disney+ and Hulu, as well as linear entertainment networks including ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.
The deal covers theatrical releases from 2022-2026 and begins for each film following its Pay 1 TV window. The agreement builds upon the companies’ prior arrangement which saw SPE movies licensed to FX in the post-Pay 1 TV window.
The deal also grants rights to a significant number of SPE’s iconic library titles, ranging from the “Jumanji” and “Hotel Transylvania” franchises to Sony Pictures’ Universe of Marvel Characters films, including Spider-Man.
This gives Disney enormous programming potential across its platforms and makes them key destinations for a robust collection of Spider-Man films. Notably, the agreement provides Hulu access to a significant number of library titles beginning as early as this June.
“This landmark multi-year, platform agnostic agreement guarantees the team at Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution a tremendous amount of flexibility and breadth of programming possibilities to leverage Sony’s rich slate of award-winning action and family films across our direct-to-consumer services and linear channels,” said Chuck Saftler, head of Business Operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks, and Acquisitions in DMED’s Networks division, who played a key role in the negotiations.
“This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.”
“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them,” said Keith Le Goy, president, Worldwide Distribution and Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We are thrilled to team up with Disney on delivering our titles to their viewers and subscribers.
This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.