Peter Kafka

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Good News for Netflix Web Users: Disney Re-Ups With Starz

Premium TV network Starz Entertainment has re-upped with Disney on its distribution deal, assuring access to the studio’s movies through 2015.

Why are you reading about this on a site that pays attention to digital media? Because the Starz renewal includes the rights to redistribute Disney’s movies on all platforms, including digital.

Meaning that Netflix (NFLX), which has been able to stream Disney (DIS) movies via its own Starz deal, will continue to do so.

This news will be a bit surprising to some observers, who expected that Disney would shut down that option sooner or later.

Here’s the release:

Disney and Starz Entertainment Extend Pay TV Output Agreement
 
Burbank, Calif. and Englewood, Colo. – March 11, 2010 – Starz Entertainment, LLC, and Disney-ABC Domestic Television, a division of The Walt Disney Company, announced today the signing of a new, exclusive long-term licensing agreement for theatrical releases from The Walt Disney Studios through 2015. The previous output agreement was set to run through 2012. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
 
The deal extension provides Starz with exclusive pay TV rights to exhibit theatrically released Walt Disney Studios ?live-action and animated feature films, including those from Marvel Entertainment, on its Starz, Encore and MoviePlex linear channels, and its related on-demand and IP-based services, both in standard and high definition. Walt Disney Studios theatrical releases in the agreement, in addition to Marvel, include pictures produced under the Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney-Pixar, Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures labels. Theatrical releases from DreamWorks Studios and Miramax Films will not be licensed to Starz under the new agreement.
 
Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, and Bill Myers, Starz Entertainment president and chief operating officer, announced the agreement on behalf of the companies.?

“Disney and Starz have been partners since the launch of the flagship Starz premium channel back in 1994, and we are pleased to be able to extend our very successful relationship,” said Marinelli. “With this long-term extension, Starz’s subscribers will continue to experience the magic and excitement of our Walt Disney Studios motion pictures,” she continued.
 
Myers said, “Commercial-free movies from Disney have always been a cornerstone of our programming and will remain so for years to come even as we add original series to our movie mix.” Myers noted that Starz has been a leader in making use of new technology to allow subscribers to enjoy programming in more convenient ways. ”This agreement secures our ability to meet the needs of current and future subscribers in a fast-changing media landscape,” he said.
 
Walt Disney Studios animated movies and live-action feature films coming exclusively to Starz in 2010 include: Up, The Princess and the Frog, The Proposal (starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds), G-Force, Old Dogs ?(starring Robin Williams and John Travolta), Hannah Montana: The Movie, Alice in Wonderland; and Race to Witch Mountain.


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