The Marvel characters to be featured on Netflix in the four-series deal the companies announced today are “not among the most popular,” Disney CEO Bob Iger just told analysts. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage “were never going to become feature films.” But that could change if the shows planned for the streaming service catch on. That makes the agreement “great for Netflix” — and opens “a great opportunity for Marvel to create more brand value…There are more opportunities beyond our platform to produce product for.”
The Disney chief also urged investors not to fret about the long time it’s taking for the entertainment giant to work out a new program carriage deal with Dish Network. The companies agreed to keep talking — without any programming black out — at the end of September when their previous agreement expired. “Progress is being made,” Iger says. Still, a deal “could take some time.” That’s because the negotiations are less about the price for carrying traditional TV channels than they are about the fees and conditions for Dish to stream Disney programming. “We want to make sure that we are open minded and modern in our thinking,” Iger says. But Disney also will “be steadfast in our strategy to protect the value of our intellectual property.” He says Disney wants to be paid extra for providing TV Everywhere rights — even though in about a year, when Nielsen fully measures TV viewing on mobile devices, “that could create an interesting growth spurt for us in revenue.” Disney has already seen “tremendous adoption and usage” of mobile program viewing at other pay TV distributors that have introduced its Watch apps.
Also on the call, Iger disputed a New York Post report last month that said Disney is looking for an investment bank to help it sell its eight ABC TV stations. “These have been good assets for us. They’re run extremely well.” he said. “As long as we’re in the network business we’ll be in the station business.”
The Disney chief also appeared to disagree with CBS’ Les Moonves who told analysts yesterday that next year he expects TV advertising to be sold on a C7 basis (which includes viewing up to a week after commercials first air). “I’m not sure it’s going to happen very quickly,” Iger says. “I don’t think the advertising community is going to move that fast.”