Starz CEO Doesn’t Believe Netflix Will Be the Happiest Place on Earth for Disney

Chris Albrecht admits even he’s confused by the distinction between “OTT” and “direct-to-consumer” offerings

Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, whose network currently enjoys premium-TV rights to Disney movies, doesn’t think the Mouse will be happy with the eventual migration of those rights to Netflix over the next several years.

“[I’m] sad to see Disney go and can’t wait to ask them how they feel about Netflix two years from now,” Albrecht said during a one-on-one interview following his presentation at the 43rd Annual Global Media and Communications Conference on Tuesday.

But, there’s a silver lining to the breakup: Those Disney rights cost a pretty penny, and that cash can now easily be spent elsewhere.

“It would be great to spend more money on originals,” Albrecht offered, though he isn’t sure he wants to add more hours at the moment.

“I don’t see a giant, immediate opportunity to invest — certainly not all of it — in originals,” he added later, playing both sides of the saved coin. “But … it is what we do.”

Furthermore, the loss of rights to Disney content applies to movies released in 2016 and beyond, barely excluding the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which premieres on Dec. 18.

Albrecht took the stage a few hours after a content deal was announced between his company and Amazon, which he touted as “one of the world’s greatest retailers.” It’s just the latest deal allowing a non-traditional platform to be an alternative delivery vehicle for external content, and Albrecht has no idea what to call it.

“I don’t necessarily consider it OTT,” he said. “I get confused with OTT versus direct-to-consumer versus — I think this is still a wholesale relationship that is a different avenue to the consumer.”

Media executives: they’re just like us!

“There are so many permutations of this, that we consider all of them,” Albrecht said of the crowded and fast-changing landscape. “I think the thing that we are focused on — and we’ve been working on — is creating our own app, which creates our own experience that we have more control over.”

“There may be some other ones that we can take [that are] more direct to the consumer, without us having to be the company that has to manage all of the marketing and all of the customer service,” he added. “That’s not to say that it’s not something that we would do.”

“We are considering everything,” Albrect concluded the matter, admitting that his company is keeping a close eye on doings over at HBO and Showtime, the latter of which is also being offered in Amazon’s Prime subscription package. “We want to have our cake and eat it too.”