Walt Disney Co. is stepping up its fight with Netflix Inc. as the two companies prepare to compete for streaming customers, but it's not a total war yet.
Disney channels such as ABC, FX and National Geographic will no longer air Netflix commercials, according to a person familiar with the matter, since the ads would help promote a rival service. But Disney's ESPN network will still run Netflix spots. And Disney might consider airing a Netflix ad during its Oscars telecast, provided it promotes a movie and not the streaming service itself, said the person, who asked not to be named because the deliberations are private.
The situation reflects the tangled web of the new streaming economy, with onetime partners turning into rivals.
TV networks have long used discretion in running ads from rival media companies. (One exception is movies, which usually get promoted everywhere.) But tensions have grown now that everyone is racing to build a direct relationship with viewers.