No deal has been reached yet to carry the upcoming Disney+ streaming service on Amazon’s Fire TV platform.
Indications this was a problem appeared months ago when Disney+ announced device support. It appears little has changed since then.
The sticking point between Disney and Amazon is ads.
No Disney+ on Fire TV devices
Back in August, Disney announced device support for the new Disney+ service. The support included most of the usual suspects although Amazon’s Fire TV OS was noticeable absent. At the time, there was no official explanation as to why.
A new report has now emerged from The Wall Street Journal stating the dispute is ongoing and over ad space. Basically, Amazon wants to sell Disney app ad space, or a percentage of it. Disney on the other hand, does not want to share with Amazon.
The reports cites “people familiar with the situation” for the information and does state some of those people are “optimistic” a deal will be reached. However, if terms aren’t agreed, it is likely Disney+ won’t be available on Fire TV OS device. At least not at launch.
What’s more, this dispute is understood to go well beyond Disney+.
Disney flexing its streaming muscles
In the new streaming world, Disney is not just a player, but a major one. Since the Fox acquisition, Disney has picked up additional and valuable assets. All in all, Disney now owns a considerable brand portfolio.
This includes full, or substantial control over Hulu, ABC, ESPN, A&E, The History Channel, Lifetime, and of course, The Disney Channel. The suggestion in the new report is these apps could be affected by the deal as well.
In fact, it seems those other apps were the actual trigger for the current dispute. While Disney+ is expected to be ad-free, the negotiations over bringing Disney+ to Fire TV have resulted in those other app terms resurfacing and being reevaluated. Presumably, at the request of Amazon.
Amazon standing firm
Amazon is no minor player either. Besides owning Prime Video and the free IMDb TV service, Fire TV itself is a major hardware platform. In fact, Fire TV along with Roku TV are easily the main suppliers of streaming set-top boxes and devices in the U.S.
Therefore, the lack of a deal is likely to affect Disney+, as well as Amazon. Which is likely why those in the know appear to be “optimistic” about a deal being done. Ultimately, both will want a deal to be done.
According to the report, and “people with knowledge" of the way Amazon deals, Amazon typically settles on a 20-30 percent share of the ad space. The same people consider this more of a new move by Amazon, considering Amazon never demanded ad space from other services in the past.
With the market booming the way it is, it is likely that Amazon now feels it is entitled to its cut of the ad space, and especially on its platform, and considering other platforms typically also demand a share.
The problem is Disney is understood to be confident in the allure of its new streaming service and wants to ensure it gives away the lowest percentage it can, if any. The sources in the report point to current negotiations focusing in on the 10 percent marker.
With Disney+ due to debut on November 12, there’s not a lot of time left for the two to agree terms.
That is, unless someone blinks first and soon.