Huge boost for Netflix viewers after major U-turn from Hollywood studios

a smartphone is pictured with the netflix logo in the foreground, with a mosaic of artwork from Netflix shows in the background

Netflix subscribers could see a welcome boost to the streamers' catalogue following fresh licensing deals with some of the biggest Hollywood studios

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 20/12/2023

- 04:30

Television shows and films from Warner Bros. and Disney could be included in your Netflix subscription as part of the latest behind-the-scenes deal

  • A new licensing agreement has been struck between Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros.
  • It could result in an influx of new boxsets and films to your Netflix catalogue
  • Deal marks the end of an unofficial no-Netflix stance from Hollywood studios

The next time you log in to Netflix, you could find a dizzying number of new movies and shows. It's all thanks to new deals being hammered out behind-the-scenes between the biggest Hollywood studios and Netflix, which could see a flood of new content coming to existing subscribers.

First reported by The New York Times, movie studios including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Sony Pictures, have decided to begin licensing their films and TV shows to boost dwindling revenue.

After years of Hollywood studios adopting a tough no-Netflix stance, the decision to license properties back to the popular streamer marks a dramatic U-turn.

When it launched, Netflix enjoyed a steady stream of films and syndicated shows from some of the biggest TV channels and film studios. But as many of these studios launched streaming services to compete directly with Netflix, including Disney+ and Max (née HBO Max), it made more sense to horde their most popular boxsets and blockbusters.

That’s still true to some extent. According to sources speaking to The New York Times, there won’t be any licensing deals around the flagship properties owned by these studios. So don’t expect to see the likes of Game of Thrones, Euphoria, The White Lotus, The Mandalorian, or The Kardashians landing on Netflix as part of these new agreements anytime soon.

However, it seems there will be a steady stream of new content that previously would’ve fallen foul of the no-Netflix rule. TV series like Young Sheldon and blockbusters including Denis Villeneuve’s Dune and Prometheus are set to be included in the deal.

Popular Disney+ shows like Prison Break, This Is Us, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, and more should start to crop up on Netflix in the coming months, sources say.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, this is brilliant news. You’ll find more episodes and films to watch as part of your existing subscription. On top of that, Hollywood studios boost their bottom-line, enabling them to commission more shows and films.

Interestingly, The New York Times reports that – for the time being, at least – this is a one-way street. While Netflix has invested an eye-watering $7 billion in original TV shows and films in the last year alone, it doesn’t have a licensing division and has no plans to hire one.

Speaking about this disparity, CEO Ted Sarandos said: "I do think that we can add tremendous value when we license content. [But] I'm not positive that it's reciprocal."

So, while you’re likely to see a few more Disney and Warner Bros. shows crop up on your Netflix app in the coming months, don’t expect to see Squid Game make an appearance on Disney+.

A Netflix subscription starts from £4.99 per month, which includes 1080p HD picture quality, streaming across two devices simultaneously, and ad breaks before and during your favourite shows. The most expensive Netflix plan costs £17.99 per month and unlocks 4K Ultra HD, downloads on up to six devices to watch offline, ad-free streaming, and spatial audio.

In recent months, Netflix has toughened its stance on subscribers who share their login details with friends and family. If the streamer detects someone watching away from your usual Wi-Fi network, it will block them. To watch in multiple locations in the UK, you’ll need to pay an extra £4.99 per month to add an Extra Member to your subscription.

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