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Netflix scored a big victory on Tuesday, announcing that it has signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Walt Disney Company.
In a joint statement, the companies announced that Netflix will have first access to Disney’s live action and animated films before pay-TV services like HBO, Showtime and Starz. According to The AP, this is the first time that any of the major studios have bypassed the pay-TV services for an online streaming service like Netflix.
Disney currently has a deal with Starz, which runs through 2015. The deal with Netflix for new theatrical releases will start in 2016. The company’s direct-to-video films will be available to Netflix starting in 2013.
Netflix subscribers will also have access to classic Disney catalog titles beginning today. Classics like Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland are already available.
The deal will give Netflix subscribers access to Disney content on all devices with Netflix, including televisions, tablets and smartphones.
Deadline notes that the deal comes just days after Disney announced that it was ending its own online movie service Disney Movies Online, which failed to catch on with consumers.
“With this cutting-edge agreement, we are thrilled to take our highly valued relationship with Netflix to the next level by adding Disney’s premier films to their programming line-up,” Janice Marinelli, President, Disney-ABC Domestic Television said in a statement. “Netflix continues to meet the demands of its subscribers in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, and we are delighted that they will have much earlier access to our top-quality and entertaining slate.”
The companies did not release the financial terms of the deal.