Disney has announced not one but two deals to sell digital copies of its reruns.
The entertainment giant has renewed a two-year-old deal with Netflix to stream older shows that aired on ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel. It announced what is essentially the same deal with Amazon, which will make the shows available via its Amazon Prime streaming service.
The Amazon deal also includes animated shows featuring Marvel Comics characters, and the two deals have other minor differences. The Netflix release, for instance, says some shows that are still on the air, like "Grey's Anatomy," will be available 30 days after the last episode of each season runs on television. There is no such reference to window length with Amazon.
For the average web video viewer, the deals are going to mean the same thing: Both Amazon and Netflix are primarily going to have older ABC shows. A few of them will be shows that are still running on television, but they will be from previous seasons, not this year's reruns, and everything else will be even older.
The deals also show that Amazon continues to cut into the lead that Netflix has built up in its web video catalog. Netflix is moving toward an exclusive strategy, in which it pays up for content viewers will not find anywhere else on the web, but it cannot fill its 20,000-title catalog with exclusives alone. And in its Disney deal, at least, it does not appear to have carved out any exclusives at all.