Disney to launch its own streaming service in 2019
During their latest financial briefings, The Walt Disney Company has announced that it’s ending its agreement with Netflix to stream the studio’s films. Instead, they’ll launch their own Disney streaming subscription platform in 2019. The service will play host to upcoming movies like Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and the live-action Lion King remake. In addition, Disney is also preparing new original movies, TV shows, and short-form content, as well as material shared from its linear television services Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.
Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, says they’ll be aiming for a global audience with this initiative, though entry will vary “based on existing distribution agreements and different market dynamics.” In the United States, the company claims it’ll become the exclusive home “for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar.”
“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,” he says. “It’s high time we got into the business…Once we do, the monetization possibilities are extraordinary for this company.”
The company hasn’t determined if Lucasfilm and Marvel will be a part of this, or eventually made into their own individual services. “There’s been talk about launching a proprietary Marvel service and Star Wars service, but we’re mindful of the volume of product that would go into those services. And we want to be careful about that. We’ve also thought about including Marvel and Star Wars as part of the Disney-branded service. But there we want to be mindful of the Star Wars fan, the Marvel fan, and to what extent those fans either overlap with Disney fans or are completely separate and incremental to Disney. So it’s all in discussion.”
Disney wouldn’t talk pricing for the new streaming service, though Iger did say it’ll be a balancing act so as to not greatly impact their existing television business.
To help build this new service, Disney has agreed to pay $1.58 billion to purchase 42% of BAMTech, the company behind streaming platforms for a number of professional sports leagues. Disney already owned 33% of the business, but wanted a larger share. The company will also use that back end to power an ESPN online platform.
NOTE: the embedded image is from a Disney Channel video-on-demand Android app. It is not representative of the upcoming Disney streaming service.