Disney and Sony Pictures on Wednesday announced a major licensing agreement that will bring both library and upcoming film and TV titles to Disney+, Hulu, ABC, and FX and other Disney-owned cable channels. The pact, which covers everything from “Spider-Man” to “Jumanji,” is as sure a sign as ever that Sony will not be launching its own streaming service.
The deal gives Disney U.S. streaming and TV rights for Sony’s new theatrical releases from 2022-2026 and begins for each film following its Pay One TV window. Earlier this month Sony and Netflix announced a deal that will see the studio’s theatrical films sent to Netflix during the Pay One window, which begins after movies leave theaters and have been released on DVD/VOD.
Under these pair of deals, distribution of Sony’s theatrical films will look like this: First to theaters, then to VOD/DVD, then to Netflix, then to Disney.
Additionally, the Disney-Sony will bring a “significant number” of Sony library titles to Disney’s streaming services and TV channels, including the “Jumanji” and “Hotel Transylvania” franchises. Most notably, Disney will have access to Sony’s Marvel titles, including “Spider-Man.” Library titles will appear on Hulu beginning as early as this June.
The earlier Netflix-Sony deal gives Netflix a first look at Sony’s library titles, this latest deal suggests Sony has some power in choosing which library titles go to Netflix and which ones go to Disney.
“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.”
The deal strengthens Disney’s position in the streaming wars by not just giving the company more content for Disney+ and Hulu, but also delivering on audience expectations that Spider-Man will live on Disney+ with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“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.”
Disney’s National Geographic Channel is also included in the deal.
The Netflix-Sony deal was a strong indication that Sony would not be launching its own streamer; this latest deal makes an even stronger case — with new releases and library titles loaned out to two heavyweights, Sony would not have much to offer on its own. The deal with Netflix will also see Sony produce an additional slate of movies specifically for the streamer.
However, the Disney-Sony deal comes the same day as reports of leaked information that suggests Sony could soon offer movies to PlayStation owners through a new service called PlayStation Plus Video Pass. It’s still unclear exactly what that might look like, but the PlayStation branding means the service is not likely meant to go head-to-head with general-audience services like Netflix.