Disney to Continue Licensing to Streamers, Says CEO Bob Iger

Disney to Continue Licensing to Streamers, Says CEO Bob Iger

Disney will continue its practice of licensing some of its content to streaming services, but it will not “chase bucks” by giving away its “core brands,” says CEO Bob Iger.

In a statement to investors, Iger said that Disney has already been licensing programming to Netflix, noting that “we’re actually in discussion with them now about some opportunities, but I wouldn’t expect that we will license our core brands to them. Those are real, obviously competitive advantages for us and differentiators.”

His comments stand in stark contrast to his stance in January of 2022, when he was quoted as saying that licensing to Netflix would be akin to “selling nuclear weapons technology to a Third World country.”

According to Iger’s statement this week, “Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, for instance, are all doing very, very well on our platform, and I don’t see why, just to basically chase bucks, we should do that when they are really really important building blocks to the current and future of our streaming business.”

Other studios have been receptive to a licensing strategy. Warner Brothers Discovery, for example, has recently licensed some of its significant titles to Netflix, including Insecure and Dune. Other streamers have also been working with Netflix, including NBCUniversal and Paramount, which agreed to license its animated Star Trek: Prodigy after the series was cancelled at Paramount+.

Despite recent budget cuts at the Magic Kingdom, Iger expressed optimism for the near term, while acknowledging that the studio may have been too lavish with its output over the past few years.

“At the time the pandemic hit,” Iger said, “we were leaning into a huge increase in how much we were making and I’ve always felt that quantity can be actually a negative when it comes to quality. And I think that’s exactly what happened. We lost some focus…

“I feel really optimistic about the slate going forward,” he added, “which is going to be a balance between some really strong sequels to some very, very popular titles, as well as some good original content.”

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