Yesterday, news broke Netflix had greenlit Disney-owned Marvel Television and ABC Television Studios to produce four series and a miniseries – a deal described by the parties as “unprecedented”.
The move was a coup for Netflix in that it has widely expected most Marvel shows would go to US broadcast network ABC following the successful launch of the first Marvel live-action television series of the Disney era, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
However, Iger explained the strategy behind this week’s deal to analysts on an investor call yesterday. “We are already producing Marvel shows for our networks. ABC has S.H.I.E.L.D. and has developed another concept, and we have shows on Disney XD. When we looked forward we realised that there were just so many Marvel shows we thought we could actually fit on to those platforms,” he said.
“There was a lot of interest from a variety of different distributors, new and traditional platforms, and ultimately Netflix won out. We saw a scenario where they were only going to continue to buy more original programming and this seem like a good opportunity for us to provide them with some branded product that they haven’t had access to [until] after it’s aired [elsewhere].”
He added the characters set to feature in the Netflix shows – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage – were “not among the most popular [in the Marvel Universe]” and that “they are characters that we probably were never going to make feature films about”. However, “if they’re popular on Netflix, it’s quite possible they could become feature films”.
Iger’s comments came after Disney reported fiscal third quarter financial results that saw revenue and net income grow 4% year-on-year to US$11.58 billion and US$3.35 billion respectively.