Netflix's deal with Walt Disney Studios gives it nonexclusive streaming rights to more of Disney's older titles - including “Dumbo,” “Pocahontas” and “Alice in Wonderland”
Netflix Inc. has acquired exclusive U.S. rights to movies from Walt Disney Studios in a deal that catapults the Internet video-on-demand service into direct competition with pay TV giants such as HBO and Showtime.
The three-year agreement takes effect in 2016 and is a blow to the pay channel Starz, which currently has the rights to broadcast Disney movies, including its Pixar animated films and Marvel superhero pictures, about eight months after they are released in theaters.
Starz's sole remaining movie provider is now Sony Pictures. That partnership ends in 2016.
Disney has also agreed to give Netflix nonexclusive streaming rights to more of its older titles - including "Dumbo," "Pocahontas" and "Alice in Wonderland" - starting immediately.
Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, called the deal "a bold leap forward for Internet television."
"We are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen," he said.
Netflix stock soared on the news, rising $10.65, or 14%, to $85.65.
Shares in Starz's parent company, Liberty Media Corp., fell $5.49, or 5%, to $105.56.
Currently, Netflix has nonexclusive rights to movies from Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer via a deal with pay channel Epix, as well as an array of library titles from other studios. Its only exclusive movie rights come from independent studios such as Relativity Media and DreamWorks Animation. It also has a wide variety of television reruns.
Sarandos and Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings have long said the company wanted to get exclusive pay TV rights to films from one of Hollywood's six major studios to boost its online entertainment service.