After almost seven years of streaming content via Netflix, Disney has decided to end its deal with the company. Last year, Disney's possible acquisition of Netflix was rumored, though the move never materialized. Yesterday, the company announced that it intends to begin its own streaming services by 2018, and pull all of its content from Netflix in 2019.
The company announced there will be two streaming services as a replacement; one for its movies and TV shows, while the other will be exclusively for ESPN. Famous franchises like Toy Story and Frozen have sequels planned for 2019, and Lion King's live-action remake is slated for a release in the same timeframe as well. Additionally, the service will feature vast amount of content from various distribution channels including the Disney Channel and Disney XD television programming.
On the other hand, the ESPN video streaming service will feature about 10,000 sporting events each year, which includes content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports, and Grand Slam tennis events. It will be integrated with the current ESPN app, and consumers who are also pay-TV subscribers will be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app.
Disney Chairman and CEO, Robert A. Iger, mentioned that:
This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the Company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands
To power the services, Disney is buying a majority ownership of BAMTech, the MLB-founded video streaming platform, for $1.58 billion. The company previously had a 33% stake in the service, but will soon increase that to 75%. This deal is subject to approval from regulatory authorities, and upon closing, Iger will serve as Chairman of the BAMTech Board.
It will be interesting to see how Disney fans respond to this announcement, as it will require them to spend more money to view Disney content, which is currently available on Netflix without any additional subscription.
Source: The Walt Disney Company