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Sony Billed as Savvy ‘Arms Dealer’ Following Lucrative TV Window Deal with Disney

Sony Pictures' 'Spider-Man'
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Sony is making the smart play by not launching a “Sony Plus.”

That’s the contention of LightShed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield, following the studio’s announcement of a new output deal with Disney. The agreement delivers to Disney Plus rights to Marvel Spider-Man films and other Sony movies, after they complete their “Pay 1” window through a separate agreement announced several weeks ago with Netflix

The pact, which runs from 2022-2026, gives Disney Plus rights to the Marvel titles it doesn’t already own (aka Spider-Man), about nine months after their theatrical run. It’s the window that was previously confined to ad-supported cable and broadcast TV.

The deal is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars of its entire span.

Also Read: Netflix Ups the Ante with Latest Deals 

“Every studio exec should be questioning whether competing in SVOD ‘really’ makes sense vs. being an arms dealer,” Greenfield tweeted Wednesday, applauding Sony’s deal. 

Indeed, Sony once had grand plans about building an OTT ecosystem based on its PlayStation console business. But before it even ditched its quest to be a virtual pay TV provider (RIP PlayStation Vue), it ran away from the SVOD biz, too, selling Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2019. 

In earlier remarks made at a Variety event on Monday, Greenfield elaborated on the competitive nature of the SVOD business. Most media conglomerates don’t have the scale—or the will and commitment—to succeed in it right now, he said. 

Also Read: Comcast Launches Disney Plus and ESPN Plus on X1 and Flex

“Everything Disney is doing illustrates that the one thing they have learned in the first 12 months of Disney Plus is that the resources to be successful are far, far beyond what they initially anticipated,” Greenfield said. “Everyone is going to have to learn this."

“The way to win in the streaming wars is to be incredibly focused, put the consumer first and stop worrying about your legacy business, stop worrying about breaking windows,” he added. 

Of course, Greenfield’s advice doesn’t necessarily pertain to Sony, which has found a way to profit from keeping windows intact. 

“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them,” said Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks for Sony Pictures Entertainment. “We are thrilled to team up with Disney on delivering our titles to their viewers and subscribers. This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”