Disney to lose $150m in content licensing fees in 2019

The hit will impact its second half most dramatically as the entertainment giant shores up its own IP to launch Netflix competitor Disney+

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 07.02.2019 | Watch

Disney to lose $150m in content licensing fees in 2019 thumbnail

Disney are set to lose about $150m in content licensing revenue this year as it pulls its programming and movies from the likes of Netflix to ready its rival streaming service Disney+.

The entertainment giant released its first quarter earnings earlier this week, reporting total earnings of $15.3bn across all its divisions in the three months ending 29 December. Revenues dipped one per cent year-on-year but beat Wall Street forecasts.

CFO Christine McCarthy revealed that losses through content rights would impact its second half most dramatically. Captain Marvel, which hits cinemas in March, will be the first Disney movie to be held back exclusively for Disney+. It would have generated revenue through third-party streamers – likely Netflix where Marvel movies have most regularly appeared – though it hopes to make that up through subscription fees.

Despite increasingly holding back its own IP for Disney+, Disney chief executive Bob Iger told investors on a call on Tuesday that it isn’t ruling out acquiring third-party rights altogether.

“There will be occasion when we would be glad to license from third parties,” he said. “But because the Fox deal hasn’t closed yet, we can’t take advantage of some of their output capabilities.”

Disney is hoping to finalise its $71.3bn acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox ahead of the estimated June 2019 time frame. The merger will bring a huge portfolio of TV and movie IP under the Disney umbrella, everything from The Simpsons and Family Guy to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, M*A*S*H and movie franchises like Predator and Avatar.


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