Disney+ will have ‘Star Wars’ available at launch, will feature Starz ad to reclaim rights

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Image: Disney

Come November 12, Disney is about to shake up the media industry with the launch of its Disney+ service. By bringing a huge percentage of pop culture’s favorite movies to its own streaming platform, the Iger led company will add a substantial piece to its business model. Previously, hopeful subscribers were disappointed that some popular titles, including many from the “Star Wars” franchise, won’t be available at launch.

Fortunately, that just changed. Both of the original “Star Wars” trilogies as well as “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” will be ready to stream on day one. However, that comes at a price. At least temporarily, the service will show an ad for Starz as part of a deal made by Disney to reclaim the rights to its own movies.

(Mostly) Subscription Supported

Back in April, Disney’s Kevin Mayer, head of direct-to-consumer entertainment, said that “Disney+ will be a wholly subscription supported service.” In other words, there won’t be ads present on the streaming platform.

Now, it appears that there will be at least one ad to annoy users. In the Disney+ Android app and in the browser version viewers will see an ad with an offer to sign up for Starz upon registering for a subscription. Fortunately, that will be the last of it. Once users actually sign in to the service, there won’t be any more ads for Starz—or anything else.

With that in mind, consumers should take a deep breath. There’s no reason to get mad at Disney for going back on its word. Yes, there will be an ad present. However, seeing (and surely clicking out of) a single pop-up ad one time is a worthwhile trade-off to watch “Star Wars” on the day of the Disney+ launch. It also won’t disrupt the service in any meaningful way. In reality, it’s almost like not having any ads at all.

Sticky Situation

While the arrangement with Starz isn’t ideal, it answered one pressing question about how the service would regain the rights to its movies. Over the years, Disney and other media companies have sold the rights to their films for massive amounts of money to various pay-TV channels and even streaming services like Netflix. Those contracts give buyers the ability to exclusively show the movies and boost the producer’s profits on the film.

Unfortunately, the rights to many of Disney’s recent hits, including ones from both the “Star Wars” and Marvel franchises, are currently in the possession of other companies. In an effort to make its new Disney+ service more attractive, the House of Mouse is working to regain those rights.

Meanwhile, both WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal (who are launching their own streaming services) are in a similar situation with shows like “The Office” and “Friends.”

The idea of buying back rights with likely be one that only grows in the coming years as the streaming landscape gets a new look. Luckily for consumers though, the only thing to worry about is watching the amazing content coming to Disney+ on November 12. With this recent news, it’s probably a good idea to clear off your schedule for a “Star Wars” binge when the service debuts.