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Spider-Man is heading to Disney streaming

Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment agreed to a multi-year licensing deal Tuesday that will bring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to Disney’s platforms, including Disney+.

But there is a catch: The agreement comes just weeks after Sony and Netflix signed a similar deal and Disney channels and platforms, including Disney+, Hulu and ABC, will have access to Sony’s newest content only after it runs on Netflix.

So, for example, Sony’s latest Spidey flick, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” is set to open in theaters in December. After its theatrical run, it will head to Netflix, which will retain exclusive rights for 18 months, then it will head to Disney’s platforms.

The deal, which runs from 2022 to 2026, also bring “a significant number” of Sony Pictures’ library titles to Disney’s platforms, according to the company. Disney hasn’t announced which content will go where, but it’s safe to assume that the Spider-Man films will likely wind up on Disney+ since that’s where the rest of its Marvel Studios films reside.

Disney also noted that a significant amount of Sony’s library will be available on Hulu starting in June.

“This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy,” Keith Le Goy, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide distribution and networks, said in a statement, “which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”

Complexities of the rights issues aside, the deals do make sense for all involved.

Netflix gets to fill its library with some of Sony’s most popular franchises including Spider-Man, Jumanji and Hotel Transylvania. Disney gets to do the same, just a little later on for some of it.

As for Sony Pictures, which does not have a streaming service of its own, the studio essentially gets to play the role of a streaming arms dealer, selling its arsenal of content to the highest bidders — sometimes more than once.

But is it a good deal for consumers? Well, that could be a different story.

Much of the competing streaming services’ popularity is dependent on what content they offer. If you’re a fan of “Stranger Things” then Netflix is for you, but if you’re really into “WandaVision,” then you need to be subscribing to Disney+.

Thanks to the onslaught of new platforms and the licensing deals that come with it, “exclusive” library content moves around a lot. That could make it pretty confusing for the average consumer to figure out which service they have to pay for — and when — in order to watch Peter Parker save the day.

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