Disney has announced that it's pulling its movies from Netflix in 2019, in favour of launching its own streaming service the same year, though there is no mention of Marvel and Star Wars movies being pulled as well.
The decision coincides with mass media and entertainment giant agreeing to acquire majority ownership of BAMtech, the company that powers streamed content from the NHL, MLB, PGA Tour, WWE, and Riot Games/League of Legends. Disney will pay $1.58bn (£1.21bn) to acquire an additional 42 per cent stake in the company – adding to the 33 per cent it already owned.
Disney’s majority ownership of BAMtech will help Disney toward launching an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service early next year, on top of the slated 2019 launch of the Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service.
“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,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
The ESPN-branded streaming service will feature approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events each year from the MLB, NHL, MLS, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. The service will be available through the ESPN app at some point in early 2018.
Meanwhile, the Disney-branded service will be home to subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the latest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar – including Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and the live-action version of The Lion King – as well as original movies, TV shows, short form content, and more. In addition, it will feature content from the Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD. The service will only exist in the US, at least for the time being, though the DisneyLife streaming service already exists in the UK.