Disney looks set to enter the media-streaming industry in a big way, thanks to a new acquisition that spells trouble for services like Netflix and Amazon Video.
Right now, Disney is one of the world’s most successful content-creation companies, producing media across a range of genres, through any number of wildly successful subsidiaries and brand licenses. But while Disney makes content, it’s not yet managed to secure a great way to deliver that content without relying on third-party services.
That’s why Disney has acquired a majority stake in BAMTech – a streaming-video company founded by Major League Baseball – in a $1.58 billion deal that was first reported by Variety.
In a statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “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.”
But what’s even more telling about the scale of Disney’s streaming ambitions is the fact that the company now plans to end its distribution agreement with Netflix. This means that streaming of new Disney movie releases will end with “the 2019 theatrical slate”, according to Variety.
Part of Disney’s streaming push will include the launch of an ESPN-branded “multi-sport video streaming service”, which is expected to go live early next year. This is expected to be followed by a Disney-branded consumer streaming service that’s current slated for a 2019 launch.
Variety’s report reads: “The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the US for subscription VOD access to new releases from Disney and Pixar beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate. Those are set to include ‘Toy Story 4’, the sequel to ‘Frozen’, and ‘The Lion King’ from Disney’s live-action division.”
It’s believed that Disney has yet to decide on how films from major studios like Marvel (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Lucasfilm (Star Wars) will be distributed. These movies could still potentially be distributed through a third-party service.
Related: Netflix vs Amazon Video
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