As Netflix cancels Jessica Jones and The Punisher, it’s the end of an era
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As Netflix cancels Jessica Jones and The Punisher, it’s the end of an era

One day, we may well look back at the announcement that streaming video on demand (SVOD) market leader Netflix has cancelled the last of its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) shows as the moment that ended the first great era of streaming video services. For the last five years, Marvel and Netflix have been bosom buddies, much to the benefit of both companies. Netflix has taken some of Marvel’s lesser-known characters and turned them into small screen sensations. Shows like Jessica Jones received widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike. Now, that’s over.

Netflix’s share price has increased by an incredible 42% so far this year

21 02 graphnetflix

Source: Yahoo Finance

What’s behind this breakup of BBFFN (Best Business Friends For Now)? Disney’s decision to launch its own streaming video service. Disney+ will be a direct competitor to Netflix, and the House of Mouse will want to lean on its full range of intellectual property, using original, exclusive, content in the same way Netflix has, to extend its media empire into new territory.

Let’s be clear: it’s a shame that Netflix won’t retain access to the MCU. Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and other shows were proven crowd-pleasers, and undoubtedly brought many comic fans to the platform for the very first time. But, in the long run, this might play into Netflix’s favour.

Netflix has a ridiculously ‘sticky’ ecosystem – that’s why it offers a free trial. It knows that there’s enough good stuff on there to give people free access for a month, and they’ll hang around and start paying. What that means is that the comic-and-movie fans who made the jump to Netflix in a bid to watch superhero shows are almost certainly going to stay. It’s also true that Netflix has plenty of other comic book adaptions going on, many of which are even more highly though of than its MCU shows (DC Comics’ Titans and Black Lightening, and new release The Umbrella Academy, for example).

So, while it probably sucks for fans of the shows that are being cancelled, it’s unlikely Netflix is going to lose (m)any customers over it. And on the plus side, Netflix can now stop sending Disney its massive licensing fees, meaning there’s more money available to spend on original content. Netflix is also likely to avoid any negative sentiment over the cancellations – everyone knows that Disney is launching its own service, and everyone knows that’s why these shows are being cancelled.

But what about Disney? Well, the company is no doubt a proven name in entertainment, and it probably has the biggest stable of intellectual property in the business (think all the old Disney films and their ‘live action’ remakes, Marvel, Star Wars, and more). But, turning Disney+ into a channel with as much exposure as Netflix is going to be a struggle – this may be a mountain too big for even the mouse to climb.


Dominion holds Netflix in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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