Disney will cut their distribution deal with Netflix in 2019 to push subscribers towards a new Disney-branded streaming service, launching later that year. The company will also launch an ESPN-branded streaming service in 2018.
“We’ve got this unbelievably passionate base of Disney consumers worldwide, and in virtually all of our businesses — except theme parks — we’ve never had the opportunity to connect with them directly or know who they are,” said CEO Bob Iger. “It’s high time we got into the business. Once we do, the monetization possibilities are extraordinary for this company.”
The streaming platforms will be powered by BAMTech, a technology company that Disney has agreed to purchase. Disney previously owned 33% of the company and is purchasing another 42% owned by MLBAM, Major League Baseball’s interactive division, Deadline reports.
The Disney-branded streaming service will serve as the “exclusive home” for SVOD viewing of all Disney and Pixar movies. The company has not yet decided if new service will include Marvel and Lucasfilms pictures, or if they will receive their own separate service.
Among the first films set to debut on the service include Toy Story 4, a live-action version of The Lion King, and the highly-anticipated Frozen sequel. Disney will also “make a significant investment” in original movies, TV shows, and short-form exclusives available only on this SVOD platform.
The ESPN service will serve approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games a year, including content from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer. It will also include news, highlights, and scores. The ESPN service will be accessed directly from the ESPN app.