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Netflix wins first-show TV rights to Disney flicks

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Netflix is to become Disney’s exclusive pay-television partner from 2016 in a deal that gives it first pick of all of the studio’s new films, from future Pixar and Marvel hits to the second and third instalments of the new Star Wars trilogy.

Terms of the deal, which only covers the US, were not disclosed, but the Financial Times estimates Netflix will pay Disney in the region of $200-300 million (£124-186m) a year.

The move isn't just about money for Disney. Its new films currently make their first television appearance on Starz, a cable TV channel. When Netflix takes over, Disney's movies will get to TV screens via the internet. This establishes IPTV as a peer of broadcast TV.

As such it's big vote of confidence in Netflix and video on demand. This is Disney accepting that punters want to view films when they want to watch them, not when channels want to transmit them.

And Netflix users are voracious telly addicts. According to GfK, a market watcher, the average Netflix subscriber watches more than five TV shows and three and a half films a week.

Netflix says it has 30 million subscribers worldwide. It will gain first pay-TV rights to new Dreamworks pictures in 2013. ®

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