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Should Disney consider creating original content for Netflix streaming?

in Disney, Television

With another successful season of “Daredevil” behind us (or if you’re still watching, currently streaming), it is clear that Disney and Marvel have made the most of the online streaming in the digital age. So far, both “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones” have not only left a footprint on pop culture, but also were deemed critical successes during their runs. This begs the question, should Disney begin to pursue other programming options with the streaming giant?

 

It shouldn’t hurt Disney XD/Disney Channel programming

Guardians of the Galaxy

The obvious hangup for Disney is that the content created won’t be airing on the Disney Channel or Disney XD. Some shows like the “Guardian of the Galaxy” series have been successful at bringing new viewers to the network. However, a lot of these series release their backlog and Disney Channel original features onto Netflix anyway. Shows like “Fuller House” have proven that traditional sitcoms still have an audience. Disney Channel already utilizes the traditional aspects of a sitcom on many of the shows it creates for kids (such as “A.N.T. Farm”) so why not create similar shows for children and young adults? With so much content available to audiences, it would be beneficial to continue building a diverse content library across various platforms.

Content could be more experimental

Much of the success of Disney channel shows has come when they take new angles on established properties. Perhaps the most notable show of late is the recent incarnation of “Mickey Mouse.” While much of the humor is still centered on a Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse style humor, the animation used was a drastic departure from traditional designs. Even now, the show feels slightly alien for the mainstream Disney fan, with the iconography of the show relatively ignored in the parks despite the fact that the series in question has won Emmy awards.

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If Disney wishes, this medium would be an excellent chance to let their animators experiment with the form. By utilizing streaming, the great shows that are created will likely gain a stronger audience than those on Disney XD or Disney Channel, while the lesser shows can disappear without much fuss. It’s a solid way to continue amassing a content library for both companies while giving animators a sandbox to play around in without eating up time on the Disney networks.

Haunted-Mansion-Cov

Another avenue that Disney could take would be to make prequel shows for upcoming films, or even embrace some of the niche aspects of the Disney fandom. Imagine the possibility of a Haunted Mansion TV show, which could potentially be as creepy or kid friendly as it wanted to be. With the production quality of shows like “Daredevil,” it could certainly be a reality. Even a “Figment” animated series based on the comics, or a “Kingdom Keepers” series could come to fruition.

Spinoffs and Sequels would be easy

One of the things that any child of the 90s could tell you, is that spin-off and direct to VHS sequels were widely anticipated. Even though most signified a decline in quality from the theatrical films they were based upon, they contributed to the cannon of the characters involved. For example, characters like Angelique can be seen in the Be Our Guest restaurant during Christmas, and Iago’s view as a hero, not villain, stems from “Aladdin: Return of Jafar” (the story line featured prominently in “Kingdom Hearts 2”).

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Using Netflix as a method to distribute solo films for characters or spin-off series could be a great way to continue the tradition that Disney has established. While a film like “Frozen 2” is not likely to go through this channel, other spinoffs like the recently announced “Big Hero 6” animated show, or even a Wreck-It-Ralph show could work well through this platform. It could also be an excellent location to launch a series of shorts, such as the “Disney Animated Shorts Collection” in bulk. Again, this wouldn’t stop Disney from also releasing these features on DVD or Blu-ray (“House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” both released through these mediums as well), and instead might increase the audience that would find the movie or series. There’s no doubt that a show based on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit could connect with a niche audience through this forum.

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Overall, the idea of creating more content for Netflix has got to be appealing for Disney on some level. If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be moving full speed ahead on the Marvel Netflix Universe. It’ll be interesting to see if Disney chooses to go this route, but in the opinion of this writer, it’d be a missed opportunity to expand the worlds of various Disney characters. If nothing else, Disney has proven that it can be successful with niche fandoms. This might be the best way to embrace that opportunity.

What shows would you like to see on a Netflix deal? Let us know in the comments!

3 Comments

  1. EricJ

    Disney already has an exclusive relationship with Netflix (you can stream both Fantasias, but you can’t get them on disk), but they don’t show enough of the cable they do have–
    Still stuck on S2 of the Dopey Snacking Fratboy Avengers, and have yet to see a streamed episode of Guardians. Still, it’s nice to have a subscription service ANY studio will still send content too, while the others sink into original programming and obscurity.

    And Netflix is still seen as the “orphanage” dump for any project real studios or cable channels don’t really want (like the Adam Sandler movie Sony didn’t want and the Little Prince movie Paramount dumped).
    We only got Daredevil not because it was “exploring the new frontier of streaming”, but because Disney/Marvel had no place for it in the MCU’s Avenger phases but had to put it somewhere.

  2. Jonathan

    The Disney film content on Netflix will get better beginning this year, as Netflix US will have exclusive pay TV rights to all Disney films theatrically released between 2016 and 2018. That means films like “Zootopia” and “Captain America: Civil War” will be on Netflix three to six months after the BD is released.

    As for TV content, Netflix has the past seasons to almost all recent ABC Studios and Disney TV shows (Star Wars Rebels has yet to show up on Netflix though). It would be nice to see Disney produced Disney branded original content specifically for Netflix. But its unlikely. After all, it’s easier to put new Disney original content on Disney Channel, Disney XD, and possibly ABC (in limited circumstances).

  3. Tom JK

    They could have their own channel and call it Mouseflix.
    There, you can watch a whole catalogue of Disney and Pixar movies, whether it would be “Beauty and the Beast” or “The Incredibles,” or something by Touchstone like “Dick Tracy.” You can even have all the Marvel and Star Wars to watch whenever, as well.

    Plus, I’d go for some original programming. Sure Disney Channel and Disney XD might be getting a new “Duck Tales” show, but imagine the impact it might get online. Even an online platform might work to revive “Gravity Falls” or a reboot of Darkwing Duck. What do you think?

    Personally, I’m still waiting for a Roger Rabbit series, and maybe an online platform will help that idea more.

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