Sony hasn’t had the easiest time. While possessing some major franchises, it still had a rough time staying competitive. Unlike some competitors, the company isn’t truly dependent on the film market, but it still hurts if an entire studio faces some harsh developments. Sadly, it wasn’t just their film department. The Sony conglomerate had hit a low after losing £3 billion in 2012. The £800 million write-downs for its film division weren’t helping matters due to falling DVD sales in 2017. At the start of the pandemic, many questioned the studio’s longevity, as many others establish their own streaming services. Well, Sony took a very different approach that is finally paying off.
Their filming divisions finalized two major streaming deals in the last month. First, they announced that Netflix would become their exclusive streaming home. It meant that upcoming films would join the service as of 2022. Also, they get a first look at any new projects. It was a curious choice after they pitched Silk to Amazon. Many wondered if this was the end for Marvel Studios ever getting to bring all the Marvel properties together on Disney+. It also could have darker implications for the ongoing cooperation between Disney and Sony, as they already had a falling out in the past for the character’s continued existence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Suddenly, Sony dropped the news that they have signed a multi-year contract to make their projects available through Disney’s streaming service. It revealed that Netflix has access for a limited time before they’re made available on Disney+. While the Spider-Man franchise was in the spotlight, they will have access to all of their available franchises from 2022 to 2026. There was no word if original scripted series might also be heading to Disney+, but it doesn’t exclude the chance that Tom Holland‘s Spidey could get an original series at some point. It’ll be interesting to see the implications for their overall deal and the longevity of Spider-Man within this universe.
Why is this such a clever idea? Well, the streaming market is getting crowded. Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ have established their position at the top. CBS All Access took on the new name Paramount+ and is trying to sell the service with the long-awaited Halo live-action series. Apple+ had 33 million users but is struggling to get them to pay. HBO Max is also dominating the market as they even managed to see a higher subscriber growth than Netflix in the first quarter of 2021. Instead of worrying about surviving in this highly competitive market, Sony made the right call by using the franchises they own as leverage to make deals with not just one but two of the biggest competitors in the market. Now, they pretty much reap the rewards without the work of programming and marketing an entirely new service. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony continues to develop with this new deal.
Source: The Guardian (Resurgence), The Guardian (Sony Pictures) PR Newswire, Variety, Financial Times