Netflix cancelled two superhero series — The Punisher and Jessica Jones — signaling the end of a five-year licensing partnership with Disney-owned Marvel on Monday.
Disney plans to debut its own streaming media service, Disney+, later in 2019 to better compete with Netflix and Amazon.
Netflix issued this statement on the cancellations:
“Marvel’s The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come. In addition, in reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the final season for Marvel’s Jessica Jones. We are grateful to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, star Krysten Ritter and the entire cast and crew, for three incredible seasons of this groundbreaking series, which was recognized by the Peabody Awards among many others. We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning.”
The on-demand pioneer is not moving away from superhero content, however. Netflix launched a new series, The Umbrella Academy, on Friday billed as a show about “estranged siblings with extraordinary powers.” Created by Steve Blackman, the show stars Ellen Page, Tom Hopper and David Castañeda.
In August 2017, Netflix also acquired comic book company Millarworld to develop other superhero films and series. Two of Millarworld’s best-known comics, “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman,” were not part of that deal. But co-founders Mark and Lucy Millar joined Netflix, and are developing new series including their first one there, Jupiter’s Legacy.
Today, Netflix boasts 139 million global subscribers. It recently raised its prices by 13 percent to 18 percent. Decisions on renewals and cancellations at Netflix generally take into account viewership versus costs. Licensing arrangements like the one Netflix had with Marvel can prove costly for any streaming media platform.
So far, licensed content has reigned on Netflix compared to the viewership attracted to the company’s original shows, Variety reported. For example, Disney content previously comprised eight to twelve percent of Netflix viewership, from January 2017 through the end of October 2018, according to research by 7Park Data, a company that tracks on-demand video consumption on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Warner Media, which is owned by AT&T, also intends to launch its own streaming media service by the end of this year. The company hasn’t said which properties will be included in its service, but it owns the movie studio Warner Bros. and franchises like “Batman,” “Harry Potter,” as well as shows on networks including CNN, TNT and TBS.