Disney Movies Won't Be Leaving Netflix As Immediately — Or As Permanently — As You Think

Our wallets may be soon taking a hit from the respective launches of Disney and WarnerMedia's streaming services, but it's the reigning streaming giant Netflix that may be taking the biggest hit. We've all breathlessly followed the reports of Disney and WarnerMedia pulling their biggest titles — from Marvel, to Star Wars, to Friends — from Netflix after longstanding deals with the streaming giant, and it's all painting Netflix as a barren wasteland of content in the aftermath. But according to a new report, that may not be the case.

Disney and WarnerMedia shows and movies leaving Netflix may not disappear as quickly from the streaming service as we would assume. And they may even not disappear permanently either.

A Bloomberg report dives into the complicated streaming deals with Netflix that are more far-reaching than anticipated. According to this report, Netflix could not only keep movies and shows on its service for the next few years, but it could restore them later on. And despite the hoopla made of Disney moving its Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars titles to Disney+, some of its 2016-2018 movies like Black Panther could return to Netflix starting in 2026. Bloomberg writes:

Yet the media giant left out a key detail: Under their current deal, every movie released between January 2016 and December 2018 — including epics like "Black Panther" — will be back on Netflix starting around 2026, people familiar with the matter said. Similar issues confront other media titans like NBCUniversal and AT&T Inc., the owner of HBO and Warner Bros. Netflix, which has about 150 million subscribers worldwide, has some of their most-popular shows locked up for years.

This retention of Disney titles stem from an extensive deal that Netflix struck back in 2012, when Disney first began licensing movies to Netflix. The streaming service soon gained access to 2,500 movies through an arrangement with Starz, and other studios quickly cashed in, with Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Fox handing Netflix some of their most popular programs. "Hollywood studios saw Netflix as a lucrative way to replace shrinking DVD sales," Bloomberg reports, which may have been the reason the studios were so quick to sign such amenable deals.

Those deals will reach into the next few years, with even a powerhouse like Disney unable to stop big Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar films from disappearing from its own streaming service when they return to Netflix, according to Bloomberg. Of the 20 most popular licensed programs on Netflix, Bloomberg reports that at least eight will remain on Netflix for several years, including Grey's Anatomy, The Walking DeadRiverdale, and Supernatural, all of which will remain on Netflix for at least 3 to 6 years after they go off air.

So you've got at least 7 to 8 more years until you have to consider buying a Disney+ or WarnerMedia streaming service subscription. Until then, it seems like Netflix won't be cut down any time soon.