Disney's Crown Jewels Off-Limits: CEO Bob Iger Declares Marvel, Star Wars Won't Go to Netflix

After the markets closed on Wednesday, Walt Disney Company DIS reported its fourth-quarter results, during which the company’s CEO, Robert Iger, made it clear that some things are just off limits for them to license competitors like Netflix Inc. NFLX.

What Happened: During the earnings call, John Hodulik, an analyst from UBS, asked Iger if, like Warner Bros. Discovery WBD, which licensed some of its “tentpole content,” the DC Universe to Netflix, Disney also plans to “lean into” it more, without diluting the brand or the growth prospects of Disney+. 

See Also: Is Disney Losing The Streaming War To India’s Richest Man? Losing 8M Subscribers Is No Joke

In response, Iger said that while Disney has been licensing content to Netflix and will continue to do so, given that they are already discussing certain opportunities, he doesn’t plan on licensing the company’s “core brands.”

He said that DisneyPixarMarvel, and Star Wars genuinely represent substantial competitive benefits for Disney, which makes it difficult to find a compelling enough reason to pursue profits at the expense of these “important building blocks” that form the foundation of the company’s streaming business. 

“I wouldn’t expect that we will license our core brands to them. Those are real, obviously, competitive advantages for us and differentiators. Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, for instance, all doing very, very well on our platform,” Iger said. 

He added, “I don’t see why just to basically chase bucks, we should do that when they are really, really important building blocks to the current and future of our streaming business.”

Why It’s Important: Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav has no reservations about the company’s decision to license DC Universe content to streaming giant Netflix. 

During the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, while responding to a question from Steven Cahill from Wells Fargo, asking about the licensing, Zaslav said, “In terms of some of the content that you’ve seen like DC we put those in Windows, so someone might have it for three months or six months. We always have those movies, and we have the complete set of all those movies.”

“And candidly, we have found that we won’t do it unless the economics are significant. But in many cases, it really helps us. People come back, and then they want to see the full bouquet of DC movies, and the only place to do that is with us. Or it enhances the quality of the DC library.”

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