Disney set to launch its own streaming services; will pull content from Netflix
The Disney-branded service will begin in 2019 and have original content developed by Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Co. will part ways with Netflix and launch its own streaming services. The company will stop providing new movies to Netflix in 2019 and start one service for films and another for sports, the company said on Tuesday.
The Disney-branded service will begin in 2019 and have will have live-action films, Disney Channel TV shows and Pixar movies.
ESPN, which is operated and owned in a joint venture between Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, will launch a new service early next year featuring about 10,000 live sporting events annually, including Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer.
Disney’s chief executive and chairman Robert Iger described it as an "entirely new growth strategy" for the company that will give "much greater control over our own destiny in a rapidly changing market”, Reuters reported.
“If you look at Disney’s businesses, except for the theme parks, virtually all of the businesses touch consumers through third parties, everything from big box retailers to the owners of motion-picture theaters,” Iger said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “This is an opportunity to reach the consumer directly.”
Disney franchises include Star Wars, The Avengers, Winnie the Pooh and Spiderman.
Upcoming movies like Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2, scheduled for release in 2019, will be exclusive to the Disney service. Netflix will continue to run TV series from Disney’s Marvel division.
Disney has not decided where films from superhero studio Marvel and "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm will be distributed after 2018, Iger said.
Disney, the world’s biggest entertainment company, hope to increase profits by launching their own subscription service as audiences drop traditional television for digital streaming.
The move follows a rare drop in quarterly sales and profit in April-June with weak advertising sales and lower subscriber numbers at its ESPN channel, said Bloomberg.
Disney has invested $1.58 billion dollars to buy an additional 42 per cent stake in video-streaming firm BAMTech. Disney now owns 77 per cent of the company.
"US Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018," the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Disney is not the first to withdraw from Netflix, which has lost content from Sony, Paramount, MGM and Lions Gate. Yet its subscribers are growing and it has spent billions to create its own popular movies and series, including House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Updated: August 9, 2017 11:58 AM