Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Disney creating new streaming service for Disney, Pixar movies and ESPN

Disney is creating a new subscription on demand streaming service in the U.S. for the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar.

The service will launch in 2019, and at the same time Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for Disney and Pixar films. So films such as Toy Story 4, the Frozen sequel and the live-action Lion King would not appear on Netflix.

Disney will also make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service. In addition, the service will feature a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.

No decision has yet been made whether Marvel or Star Wars films will follow on this new subscription service, Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company, said. There has been some thought of separate Marvel and Star Wars subscription streaming, no final decision has been made. Those films will remain on current subscription streaming services like Netflix for the time period, Iger said.

This is being made possible with Disney's major announcement today (Aug. 8, 2017) that is has agreed to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech, LLC for $1.58 billion. Disney had owned 33 percent of BAMTech and purchased an additional 42 percent stake in the company. 

"Today we announced a strategic shift in the way we distribute our content. The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market,” Iger said during the third quarter earnings meeting.

In addition to Disney streaming service it will also launch an ESPN streaming service. Both will be available for purchase directly from Disney and ESPN, in app stores, and from authorized MVPDs.

The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer sports programming, featuring about 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, Disney has said.

Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live, according to Disney.

The new sports service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app. In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will include the current news, highlights, and scores.Consumers who are pay TV subscribers will also be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app on an authenticated basis. For many sports fans, this app will become the premier digital destination for all their sports content.

No decision has been made on what will be charged for either the Disney or the paid ESPN portions of the app.

The BAMTech transaction is subject to regulatory approval. Iger said he would serve as Chairman of the BAMTech Board. MLBAM and NHL will continue as minority stakeholders in BAMTech, with seats on the Board.
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