With entertainment companies growing increasingly frustrated in their fight against online piracy, both Sony and Disney have started rolling out a radical new plan in South Korea that could seriously upend the way movies get released. The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney and Sony have started letting viewers stream movies at home that are still playing in movie theaters, a move that other major studios are reportedly watching to see if it helps reduce the rate of piracy. The studios aren’t letting viewers stream movies at the same time they release in theaters, of course, but are instead letting them stream the films roughly a month after they launch in theaters. All the same, this gives viewers much shorter waits than they’re used to having for home movie rentals so it will be intriguing to see whether this helps the studios fight piracy.
Score this as an enormous win for Netflix (NFLX). The content distribution company on Tuesday announced that it had signed a multiyear deal with Disney (DIS) to deliver major Disney theatrical releases to users’ living rooms in the first pay TV window. In a joint press release, the companies said that starting with Disney’s “2016 theatrically released feature films, new Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature titles will be made available for Netflix members to watch instantly in the pay TV window on multiple platforms, including television, tablets, computers and mobile phones.”
UPDATE: According to The Next Web, the deal gives Netflix “the ability to show those titles as soon as they’re available for anyone to watch in the first pay window, not just those with video on demand.” The companies’ full press release is posted below.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court rejected a law that would make it illegal for video game stores and publishers to sell or rent violent video games to minors. The law, which was adopted in 2005 and rejected in a 7-2 vote, was deemed unconstitutional and against freedom of speech rights. According to Reuters, a number of big players in the gaming industry opposed the law, including the Entertainment Software Association, whose ranks include Sony, Microsoft, EA, and Disney. “Our cases hold that minors are entitled to a significant degree of First Amendment protection,” Justice Antonin Scalia said. “Government has no free-floating power to restrict the ideas to which they may be exposed.” More →
Netflix announced a new deal Wednesday that will bring additional content from ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel to the company’s online streaming catalog. “Watch Instantly” allows Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail subscribers to stream an unlimited amount of television and movie content to computers and compatible set-top boxes, and now the service is also available as a stand-alone offering for $7.99 per month. New shows that will now be available on Watch Instantly 15 days after their initial air date include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Brothers & Sisters.” The deal also brings complete seasons of popular shows like “Lost,” “Ugly Betty” and “Scrubs” to Watch Instantly.
“TV content streamed from Netflix has proven to be immensely popular with our members,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “Adding to our existing Disney-ABC lineup with great network and cable shows, and opening up ABC Family for the first time, are important steps in creating a wide and diverse selection of content Netflix members of all ages can watch.”
The move with Disney-ABC is the latest in a series of deals Netflix has put together in an effort to bolster the new content available in its streaming catalog. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Tech Crunch is reporting that Tapulous, the company behind Tap Tap Revenge for the iPhone and Tap Tap Radiation for the iPad, has been acquired by Disney. Details are sparse but according to the leaked information, Bart Decrem, the founder of Tapulous, is expected to join Disney as a VP. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed — anyone care to guess the closing price on this presumably lucrative deal?
UPDATE: It’s now official. Click here to check out the press release. More →
Hulu may be getting a healthy dose of new programming content courtesy of Disney. According to sources close to the situation, Hulu and Disney are in serious negotiations to bring Disney programming to the online video portal. The talks reportedly focus on ABC programming content which include the popular TV series Desperate Housewives and LOST, but may include programming from other Disney assets as well. In exchange for providing content, Disney is requesting an equity stake in Hulu on par with NBC Universal and News Corp and possibly performance incentives. With the relationship between Hulu and CBS souring, Hulu could use a high profile deal to boost its position in the increasingly competitive online video marketplace.