Two of the biggest movies that people want to talk about this week are Wonder Woman 1984 and Pixar Soul, but there is another film that cannot be missing: Spider-Man: In the Spider-Verse.
The critically acclaimed 2018 animated superhero movie by Sony, in which Miles Morales donned the web sniper costume and saved the world with the help of some other spider beings, will leave Netflix on December 25. This is in two days. It is also unclear where In the Spider Verse will end. Sony doesn’t have a big streaming platform, and none of the other big streamers – HBO Max, Disney Plus, Peacock, Apple TV Plus or Amazon Prime Video – have announced it’s coming.
Random streaming is nothing new. Movies and TV shows leave Netflix (or Hulu, or HBO Max) every month. Ephemerality has defined streaming for years. That’s why sites like JustWatch have been hugely successful, helping people who migrate to Google to find out where the movie they watched on HBO Max ended, or why tweet topics about the importance of physical media come up every week. (This is where I buy Blu-rays, if possible, especially since streaming also coincides with impermanence, and titles can apparently be edited on a whim.)
The end of the year also tends to see more titles coming out because more licenses expire. It is here that 2020 becomes especially interesting; it is the beginning of great noticeable exclusive games. Before the release of HBO Max, Disney Plus and Peacock, the rights owners were prepared to license their titles to the major broadcasters.
It’s a profitable business – if you don’t have your own streamer. Netflix paid about $ 300 million for Disney’s movie debut in 2012 (although the deal didn’t start until 2016). It was an important moment; Netflix beat Showtime and Starz for this premium window offer. This “payout window 1” becomes a bidding war; think about how movies go from theaters to Blu-ray / digital retailers, and then end up on HBO before being shown on broadcast networks like ABC. Netflix signed a similar deal in 2013 with DreamWorks Animation. At the beginning of the streaming boom, it was also fantastic for subscribers. With new mega contracts and one of the largest TV libraries available that included shows from all major networks, Netflix had basically everything necessary people.
Everything has changed now. Netflix is far from the only streamer on the block and, specifically in the United States, is facing several waves of new competitors. In 2019, television research group Ampere Analysis noted that about 20% of the Netflix library included titles from NBCUniversal, Fox, Disney and WarnerMedia. Three of these companies have publicly announced the importance of creating their own streaming services, taking much of the content they have licensed for Netflix and other streamers and adding it exclusively to their own products. (The fourth company, Fox, has been swallowed up by Disney.) not just Netflix, but Netflix remains the quintessential example. The Netflix library is literally shrinking – something executives have effectively ruled out as Netflix strives to make series and movies more original than ever.
This change is clear as the day when we look at the list of Netflix titles that comes out at the end of the year. All seasons The West Wing? Gone. You will have to sign up for HBO Max to view them. The office? I will need a Premium Peacock subscription to watch any episode from season three to the end. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Destroy Ralph 2 is about to become an exclusive Disney Plus, while Dexter and Nurse jackie go probably find your way to Showtime’s OTT service or whatever is Paramount Plus. (More details on this for the new year.) For those doing the math at home, this means that instead of spending $ 14 a month to watch all of these programs, it will now cost about $ 45 a month.
Movies and TV shows from content owners may still end up on Netflix. NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS talked about the importance of licensing when creating their streaming businesses. But the biggest titles, the ones that executives think people will sign, will remain exclusive.
For companies like Disney and WarnerMedia, it makes sense. I’m sure people are watching Friends on HBO Max; if you’re driving subscriber growth, you need to know Other titles that WarnerMedia doesn’t need are sold exclusively elsewhere – like Rick and Morty, who is also on Hulu. It is a similar agreement with ViacomCBS, which has South Park for WarnerMedia (now broadcast on HBO Max) for more than $ 500 million. Eventually, the rights will revert to the owners of the original content, and they will do another calculation to know where South Park can make them earn more money.
What is impossible to ignore, however, is how much our streaming experiences have changed in less than a decade. It used to be that if you wanted to watch something, there was a 90 percent chance that Netflix could do it. If Netflix didn’t, it was probably on Hulu. Now, a college degree in content ownership is practically necessary.
All of this is a long way of saying, “Who knows where In the Spider Verse will end? ”So, if you want to watch it on Netflix, do it now.