Just in time for the holidays — sure to be filled with a lot of time spent sitting around and watching TV while my 6-year-old daughter has her upcoming school vacation week — Netflix spread some holiday cheer this week.
Well, at least I’ll be cheerful my daughter now has a bit more of a selection for her viewing demands, which lately have revolved around 52 episodes of My Little Pony and 98 episodes of Phineas and Ferb that are sitting in our Instant Queue. Not that I mind Phineas and Ferb, which happens to be great for adults too.
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Netflix announced this week that it had struck a deal with Disney on a multi-year agreement to stream movies from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios and Disneynature.
My daughter uses Netflix for her viewing much more than I do, partly because of the nature of all those episodes being at her fingertips. But I’ve always found the kids’ movie selection pretty slim and especially lacking in stuff that both children and parents can sit through together (hey, my child can’t be the only one that often requests one of her parents watch TV with her). And really, part of the home theater experience is enjoying some movie nights with your children, perhaps watching an old movie that you saw with your own parents long ago.
In the recent past, though, we’ve seen some favorites like Tangled come and go and a slew of Scooby-Doo movies, for example, disappear from the queue thanks to the tricky nature of these license agreements like the one with Starz that didn’t last long (don’t get me started on the whole division of discs and streaming plans, but we decided not to have both and just stuck with the streaming).
So I happily piled in nine more movie choices into our queue today specifically for my daughter during a +Instant Queue binge because of the Disney deal, whose catalog additions Netflix has already begun to populate in its streaming collection. There’s a decent stack of Disney catalog choices already (hopefully many more on the way), from which I grabbed titles like Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, The Muppet Movie, Pocahontas and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“Disney and Netflix have shared a long and mutually beneficial relationship and this deal will bring to our subscribers, in the first pay TV window, some of the highest-quality, most imaginative family films being made today,” says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, the press statement. “It’s a bold leap forward for Internet television and we are incredibly pleased and proud this iconic family brand is teaming with Netflix to make it happen.”
“High-profile” direct-to-video new releases from Disney will be made available in 2013, while theatrically released new feature films for the pay TV window won’t start coming to Netflix until 2016. So that’s a bit of a tease, but in the meantime at least this is a step in the right direction from a company that’s certainly had its share of missteps in the last couple of years.