With the world of streaming constantly changing, now the pandemic streaming boom is over, Wall Street and shareholders are now putting pressure on companies like Disney to make their streaming platforms profitable, as having the biggest streaming service with the most subscribers, is no longer the aim, ultimately making more money from the content they make.

While at one point, every studio was trying to keep all of its content exclusive to its own platform, to drum up subscribers and keep existing subscriptions going, lately, many studios, including Warner Brothers Discovery, have started to cut back on the number of originals they are creating, release more films in cinemas and licensing out content to other platforms.

In a report from Bloomberg, Disney is exploring the idea of selling more of its films and television series to rival outlets, to curb the losses in its streaming business.

With Disney trying to boost the amount of money it makes from its content, it has already been shifting many of its streaming movies to theatrical releases.  Generally, in the past few years, Disney has been trying to keep all of its shows and films exclusively available on its own platforms, Hulu and Disney+.  Recently, it has changed strategies by simultaneously releasing National Geographic and Disney Channel content on both linear and Disney+, rather than making them streaming exclusives.

Disney already licenses out content to third-party platforms, such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon, BBC, Channel 4 and others.  It also creates content and sells it to other platforms, such as “Criminal Minds” and the upcoming “True Lies” show.  Only recently, it was revealed Disney had done a new deal to release more shows and films on physical media formats.

Since Bob Iger’s return to power, we’ve already started to see him rolling back some of the changes introduced by former CEO Bob Chapek, such as offering free parking at Disney Resorts in Orlando and lowering prices on theme park tickets. Last year, one of the first decisions made by Bob Iger, was an announcement of the company’s organisational structure, where the film and show release decisions will be made by the creative studios, rather than the DMED division.

His first quarterly investor’s call is next week, where its hoped he will reveal his plans for the company, but with the upcoming annual shareholder meeting, which is causing some headaches for the company due to the proxy battle with investor Nelson Peltz, who wants a place on the board of directors, it’s going to be a much more bumpy start to his new run as CEO.

Bob Iger has been very vocal about not wanting to license its major shows and films to its competitors, previously saying:

“I woke up one day and thought, we’re basically selling nuclear weapons technology to a Third World country, and now they’re using it against us.”

Officially, Disney hasn’t confirmed that they are looking to make more licensing deals, and even if they do, it doesn’t necessarily mean shows and films will leave Disney+ or Hulu, since they can make non-exclusive deals to keep hold of content.  But the idea that everything Disney creates ends up on Disney+ or Hulu, and, just as importantly, stays there, does seem to be drifting away, as the reality of the costs of running a streaming business start hitting hard.

Warner Brothers Discovery has been making some major changes in its streaming plans, leaning back into what used to work before the pandemic, with more theatrical releases and, recently, licensing out shows like “Westworld” to other free streaming platforms like Roku and Tubi.

Over the next few years, we will undoubtedly see a shift in how Disney releases its content, but what impact will that have on Disney+? We will have to wait and see. But the future is looking a little less “exclusive”!

What do you think of Disney licensing out its content again?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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