Disney has a lot of properties. A lot of properties. In addition to its live-action and animation library, they also own Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. So all of those films would appear on Netflix just a few weeks after they’ve been released on Blu-ray and DVD.
But it appears that streaming Disney movies on Netflix will come to an end in 2019. The studio has announced that it will be ending its deal with Netflix, and instead will be launching its own streaming service. More on the story below.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Iger made the announcement in an earnings call meeting today. He called the move “a strategic shift in the way we distribute our content.” This means films like Frozen 2 will not appear on the streaming platform. However, Iger’s comments leave room for Marvel and Star Wars films to appear on other streaming platforms, or maybe not appear on any of them but their own. The CEO didn’t make any of that clear and just indicated that they would be launching their own streaming service.
Disney made the deal with Netflix back in 2012, and since then films like Moana, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have appeared on the streaming platform. So while the logistics of it all have yet to be ironed out, Iger assures “that the decision to not renew with Netflix is a done deal.” The studio also owns a stake over at Hulu, which currently streams older animated titles like Mulan and Pocahontas. That deal will be unaffected by this latest announcement.
The studio also announced that it would be launching a streaming service for ESPN, Disney’s flagship sports-content channel. ESPN has seen a huge drop in subscribers recently with many following the trend to cut the cord. The service, which will launch in 2018, could help stop that loss from continuing to get worse.
So in order for that to work, Disney will pay $1.58 billion to acquire “a majority of BAMTech, the streaming technology company owned by MLBAM, the internet company owned by Major League Baseball.”
The move comes at a time where TV shows and movies have gone far beyond the traditional broadcasting and theatrical viewings. We all know Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube Red are all producing their content, now sports fans have something to look forward to if they want to stream live content with ESPN. This move also forces these streaming platforms to look for new ways to keep their subscribers for the long haul.
Disney’s own streaming service could also be in response to the success of CBS’s All Access. So maybe we can expect to see more than just Disney films, but maybe some original content as well. But it’s not clear if that original content extends to Marvel and Star Wars. We’ll just have to wait and see.