Disney’s latest earnings report might not sound like a particularly scintillating source of news, but today’s included a startling piece of information. Not only will the company stop licensing its new films to Netflix beginning in 2019 — the end of a distribution deal between the two companies that goes back to 2012 — but it will launch its own streaming service, to “make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives.”
Disney has therefore paid a stunning $1.58 billion to acquire majority ownership of the digital media company BAMTech, which will provide the resources for Disney to make its own streaming service by 2019 that will be the streaming home to new Disney films like the upcoming Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2, along with original, platform-specific content. There are also plans for an ESPN-specific streaming service, launching in 2018, that will offer “10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year.” Disney CEO Bob Iger explained the move to CNBC as a logical step that “represents a big strategic shift.”
Netflix, meanwhile, released its own statement to The Verge to reassure its customers that they have a couple of years yet to worry about losing their access to Disney titles, and that they shouldn’t panic about Marvel shows disappearing:
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. We continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company on many fronts, including our ongoing deal with Marvel TV.
So, no, you don’t have to squeeze in your Moana viewings immediately. But there will indeed be yet another streaming service with even more new TV shows to keep track of soon enough.