Disney Emerges as Top Winner in Licensing Resurgence

Disney stands out as the dominant force in the resurgence of licensing, according to a recent report by Ampere Analysis.

The report suggests that Disney is poised to reap significant benefits from the renewed interest in licensing among Hollywood giants seeking to monetize their content beyond their own streaming platforms. Ampere Analysis notes that Disney surpasses its competitors by owning more than double the amount of powerful licensable content.

While major studios previously focused on exclusive distribution via their streaming services, the landscape is shifting, with licensing making a comeback. For instance, Warner Bros. Discovery struck deals in 2023 to license DC-adapted content to various platforms, signaling a change in strategies regarding exclusivity for core intellectual properties.

Ampere’s analysis reveals a notable increase in cross-licensed TV seasons between platforms like Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max and Discovery+. Amazon’s overlap with studio streamers has also grown significantly. The report highlights recent major licensing deals involving studios such as NBCUniversal and Disney.

Ampere formulated a “licensing power ranking” by examining Hollywood conglomerates’ content catalogs to identify titles that meet specific criteria. These criteria include completion of the first run, having at least three seasons, being scripted, of U.S. origin, and maintaining consumer engagement measured through Ampere’s Popularity Score.

Disney leads the pack with 148 titles possessing licensing power exclusive to its streaming services as of December 2023. This cache of titles is more than double the size of any other major Hollywood studio’s potential licensing portfolio. Paramount Global, Warner Bros. Discovery, and NBCUniversal follow suit with their own collections of titles with licensing power.

The report also delves into the genre breakdown of available programming, noting that comedy is the most common genre, driven by enduring U.S.-produced sitcoms like The Office and Seinfeld.

However, not all identified titles with licensing power will be cross-licensed. The success of titles like Suits on Netflix underscores the potential for significant audience expansion and franchise expansion through licensing deals.

According to Rahul Patel, research manager at Ampere, more licensing deals for high-profile titles are expected in 2024 among major VOD providers. Studios will need to carefully balance exclusivity and non-exclusivity to maintain distinct and compelling streaming offerings while maximizing the value of their content in the second window.

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