Warner Bros. Discovery Going To War Against Netflix?

By Britta DeVore | Published

warner bros netflix

A storm’s on the way with dark waters ahead for two major streaming studios with Warner Bros. Discovery facing off against Netflix amidst payment plan disputes. It’s no secret to anyone that Warner Bros. has been having a rough time with finances as of late, canceling an innumerable amount of HBO Max projects including the already finished and long-awaited Batgirl. Now, according to Deadline, studio head David Zaslav is looking for a faster payday from its fellow streaming juggernaut Netflix with the WB head upset about the way that the former has shaped their payment plans.

With more drama than some of their favorite titles can provide, the real kicker in the Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix upset is that the latter has been handling business in the same way for several years. The way their payment plans are structured, Netflix passes out their dues to producers over an 18 to 24-month time frame, something that Zaslav is no longer happy with. And with his upset, Netflix users may be in trouble as this could lead to Warner Bros. pulling shows from their docket. 

As of right now, Warner Bros. is behind Netflix titles including Robert Downey Jr.’s Sweet Tooth, the Penn Badgley-led edge-of-your-seat thriller You, and Neil Gaiman’s comic-books-turned-hit-series, The Sandman. The latter was just renewed for its second season and seems to be the most recent thorn in Zaslav’s side. It seems that the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO isn’t sleeping soundly over Netflix’s plans to move forward with the show’s next installment due to the way they currently pass out their checks.  

the sandman
The Sandman

This could spell trouble for other Netflix titles as well, with the platform streaming several WBTV hits including The Flash, Riverdale, Supernatural, and All American. While the aforementioned are titles belonging to The CW, which is now predominantly owned by Nexstar, Warner Bros. still holds rights to many of the productions, meaning that should a rumble with Netflix happen subscribers may need to kiss these shows goodbye. The breakup would be an especially crushing loss for fans of Riverdale and The Flash as both series are heading into their final seasons. 

A source close to Warner Bros. Discovery’s side of the streaming shakeup spoke to Deadline, saying that they believed Zaslav’s upset was “an odd way of looking at it,” adding that “it’s obviously the way the industry works and has worked with Netflix.”

The insider went on to say that Zaslav has made hand over fist when it comes to Warner Bros. partnership with Netflix and that the CEO has, for the most part, “been happy with that.” Not able to wrap their head around the latest upheaval, they cheekily said, “It’s like he suddenly discovered what the payment terms were.” We love a sassy insider. 

With The Sandman officially heading back to Netflix for a second season, Zaslav should, at the end of the day, be excited that the checks will come rolling in. But, the Warner Bros. Discovery exec is hoping that his pushback against Netflix’s business practices will result in him getting his payout earlier. While the story will continue to develop as the studios go head to head, it was revealed by an insider that at this time, Zaslav has asked Warner Bros. Discovery employees to put a hold on selling finished series to Netflix.