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Disney may look to adjust its Star Wars airing rights, report says

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Disney is reportedly asking Turner Broadcasting to give back the rights to Star Wars films.


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Disney may look to evolve its current cable deal regarding Star Wars rights ahead of the launch of its streaming service.

The Walt Disney Company has made an inquiry to Turner Broadcasting about adjusting their 2016 deal that gives Turner the rights to air the Star Wars movies, according to Bloomberg. Turner, which is owned by AT&T, currently has the rights until 2024 to show most of the movies on its cable networks, which in the US include TNT and TBS, as well as streaming on the internet.

However, a source CNET has talked to clarified that while a conversation has taken place about potentially amending the current Turner deal to reflect the current marketplace and business needs, there has so far been no discussion about buying back the rights regarding the cable television window that this deal covers.

CNET also reached out to Disney and Turner Broadcasting for official comment and didn’t immediately hear back.

The rights were sold to Turner in 2016 in a deal said to be worth $275 million before Disney announced plans to launch its own streaming service. To complicate matters further, a separate deal was cut with 20th Century Fox for the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, Variety reported at the time.

The deal Disney has with Turner is separate from Disney’s Netflix agreement, which currently allows Star Wars movies on the latter service. Disney’s Netflix deal ends at the end of the year, and in 2019 the company will launch its own streaming service.


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First published Aug. 3, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:33 a.m. PT: Clarifies this affects the cable deal and the streaming deal with Netflix is separate.


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