Disney intends to begin a branded direct-to-consumer video streaming service in 2019 starting in the U.S. and growing globally.
CEO Bob Iger told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin Disney had a “good connection” with Netflix, but chose to exercise an option to move its content off the Netflix. Movies to be transferred include Disney as well as Pixar’s titles, according to Iger. Netflix said Disney movies will be accessible through the end of 2018 on its platform. Marvel TV shows will remain.
The new service will be the place for all Disney films going forward, beginning with the 2019 professional slate which includes “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and the upcoming live-action “The Lion King.” It will also be getting a “significant investment” in particular movies and television series for the new platform.
The company will also start its own ESPN streaming service in early 2018. The platform, which will highlight about 10,000 sporting competitions each year, will have video content from the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports and tennis’ Grand Slam events.
To influence the services, Disney is acquiring a majority ownership of BAM Tech for $1.58 billion. Disney acquired a 33 percent stake in the company, which was produced off from digital media company MLB Advanced Media, in August 2016.
“This signifies a big strategic shift for the company,” Iger said to CNBC. “We felt that having the power of a platform we’ve been very fascinated with after buying 33 percent of it a year ago would give us command of our destiny.”
Netflix stock fell more than 5 percent in the announcement of the news.
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