After Disney struck a deal with Netflix involving four series and one mini-series based on Marvel Comics characters, there have been rumors that Disney might strike a similar deal with Netflix involving their Stars Wars properties.
When Disney CFO Jay Rasulo was asked about the Marvel Netflix deal earlier today at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, he interestingly enough started off his answer by drawing a comparison between Marvel and Lucasfilm.
“You know obviously when we bought Marvel, and now I think everything I say about Marvel you can take a couple of years down the road and substitute the word Marvel for Lucasfilm,” said Rasulo. “But we really wanted to take this treasure trove of content and deliver it throughout the Disney ecosystem. That was our strategy. Buy this great content, use the existing ecosystem to deliver it all over the world in everything that we do. So of course we started with films.”
Rasulo added, “We wanted to build up to Avengers, have a big hit with Avengers, and then draft off of that and then start the same thing with other groups of characters. So that’s what we were doing on the studio side. You all know that that strategy has been incredibly successful. But then we started to look at television.”
Rasulo explained how they started first with own networks, developing content for both Disney XD and ABC. Then, he continued, “And we started to think more broadly, how can we continue to expand the value of this content in the ecosystem? And an original content deal with Netflix seemed incredibly consistent with their own strategy and very consistent with our strategy. We were ready to look outside of our own networks into a different form of distribution. So we did this deal with Netflix. I think it's going to lead to great results. It's a little bit like the Avengers strategy. It does origin series on four different characters who ultimately may well assemble.”
Since Rasulo said that a couple years down the road that the word Lucasfilm could be substituted for Marvel, he certainly seems to be suggesting that applies to both the films and TV shows. In fact, it’s already evident that Disney is following a similar film strategy with Star Wars to what they did with Marvel. Star Wars will have both standalone episodes focusing on a single character, as well as episodic adventures with the Star Wars characters assembled.
Disney has even already started to follow the Marvel strategy on the TV side by announcing the Star Wars Rebels animated series for Disney XD. Will a Star Wars ABC television show and a Star Wars Netflix deal be next?