Disney to Ditch Netflix and Start its Own Streaming Service
Disney will drop its films from Netflix beginning in 2019 to starts its own streaming service.
"The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the U.S. for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly anticipated movies," Disney said in a statement.
The company also promised "a significant investment" in original content, including movies, TV shows and short-form content, and access to older content from Disney, Pixar, the Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD.
Pricing was not discussed; Disney said the idea is that people will purchase access directly from Disney, in app stores or from pay TV providers.
The move means "Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning with the 2019 calendar year theatrical slate." Right now, Netflix includes Disney flicks such as Zootopia, Moana, Lilo & Stitch, Finding Dory and more.
The announcement comes as Disney purchased a majority stake in streaming technology firm BAMTech, LLC. It previously bought a 33 percent stake in the company; today it announced another 42 percent for $1.58 billion. Owning BAMTech will also help it launch a sports-focused, ESPN-branded streaming service in early 2018, too.
For that, Disney promised 10,000 live regional, national and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis and college sports. Pricing was not revealed, but Disney tipped individual packages for specific sports.
Netflix, meanwhile, should be used to saying farewell to certain content providers. Last year, it lost shows from Food Network and HGTV, for example, while Epix jumped ship for Hulu in 2015. It's one of the reasons Netflix has invested so heavily in original content; last year, estimates said Netflix could soon be 50 percent original shows.