As Disney prepares to launch its own streaming service this fall, the Mouse House is taking steps to keep its largest competitor—Netflix—at arms length. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Disney has decided it will no longer accept ads from Netflix on its entertainment networks, which includes ABC and Freeform and newly acquired Fox properties like FX and Hulu.
“The direct-to-consumer business has evolved, with many more entrants looking to advertise in traditional television, and across our portfolio of networks,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. “While the initial decision was strictly advertising based, we reevaluated our strategy to reflect the comprehensive business relationships we have with many of these companies, as direct-to-consumer is one element.”
Disney will allow Netflix ads on non-entertainment networks, which means you may still see some Netflix ads on Disney-owned ESPN. But since that network shows sports, which Netflix does not have, it appears it’s all gravy.
This is significant given that Disney-owned ABC airs the Oscars until at least 2028, and during last year’s ceremony Netflix took the opportunity to unveil the first teaser trailer for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. So this means on “movies’ biggest night,” you won’t be seeing any ads for upcoming Netflix movies or shows.
The move makes sense as Disney faces something of an uphill battle in drawing subscribers to Disney+ and away from Netflix. The latter streaming service has an immense library of titles (though not exactly an immense library of quality titles) and has a six-year head start on producing original content. Disney CEO Bob Iger has already admitted that Disney+ will not be able to compete against Netflix in terms of quantity, but the less-pricey service from Disney will have robust quality.
It’s hard to imagine family households not getting Disney+ when it debuts in November, so while technically Disney+ is kind of the David in this situation, it probably won’t be too long before they become a Goliath of their own.
For a full list of the movies and shows that will be available on Disney+, click here.