Disney+ Beat Out Netflix and Every Other Streamer, Showrunner Reveals

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Netflix logo superimposed over the planet Earth

Credit: Netflix/Inside the Magic

Disney+ came out on top in the battle to win streaming rights for one of the world’s longest-running and most beloved television series, a new interview reveals.

Disney+ and Netflix logos side by side
Credit: Inside the Magic

The streaming wars are as brutal as they have ever been, with Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Max, Hulu, and all the other services trying to displace Netflix as the most popular platform in the world. It hasn’t been easy.

In the last several months, nearly every streaming platform has seen a steep drop in both viewing numbers and subscribers, even as broadcast television has a surprising comeback in audiences tuning in. This could be blamed on any number of things, from the increasingly lukewarm Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe releases on Disney+ to services constantly deleting fan-favorite content for tax breaks to pretty much every platform increasing prices just because they can.

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Disney+ and the TARDIS

However, in all of this, Disney+ has made one huge score: securing the streaming rights for Doctor Who. According to showrunner Russell T Davies, every significant streaming platform was vying to get the series, but only Disney+ was able to make a deal.

David tennant as the fourteenth doctor in the trailer for the doctor who 60th anniversary special
Credit: BBC

Russel T Davies said (via SFX), “It could have been Netflix, it could have been Amazon. It could’ve been anyone – you could say any name there that we went to…It’s our job to go to every single streamer in the world. All of them were very interested.”

The Future of ‘Doctor Who’

On November 25, Disney+ will begin streaming the first of three 60th-year anniversary specials for Doctor Who, along with a staggering 39 seasons worth of episodes. While Doctor Who may not have the same name recognition in the United States, Guinness World Records has awarded it prizes for both the “longest-running” and “most successful” science fiction franchise of all time, far outstripping the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek.

Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor, wearing an open white shirt
Credit: BBC

Doctor Who has followed the adventures of an extraterrestrial being dubbed “the Doctor” for decades, replacing the actors via a narrative conceit of alien regeneration. Jodie Whittaker most recently played the Fourteenth Doctor, while Ncuti Gatwa will take up the role next under the stewardship of Russell T Davies. In the meantime, fan-favorite actor David Tennant has unexpectedly returned for at least one special, in which he will face off against a new villain played by Neil Patrick Harris.

Neil Patrick Harris as a villain in Doctor Who, surrounded by creepy toys
Credit: BBC

Related: Disney Parks Rumored To Add Long-Running ‘Doctor Who’ to Parks After Latest Disney+ Reveal

Disney+ Content Catalog

Disney+ partnering with BBC Studios to stream Doctor Who comes just in the nick of time for the House of Mouse, which has been struggling with diminishing box office returns for theatrical films and steadily decreasing audiences for streaming shows like The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and Secret Invasion.

Doctor Who has a built-in global fanbase that makes it a huge asset to any streaming platform, so it’s no wonder that Netflix, Max, and the rest were all trying to get a hold of the series. Disney may be canceling shows and licensing them out to other platforms at a staggering rate, but it seems increasingly like the plan is to try to replace its own Disney-branded television with the adventures of the Time Lord.

Will Doctor Who be enough to save Disney+? Give us your wibbly wobbly, timey wimey opinions in the comments below!

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