Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Disney launching streaming service, pulling content off Netflix

David Zaslav Katie Kramer | CNBC David Zaslav
Debra Rodriguez | 10 August, 2017, 01:54

The Walt Disney Company also said that issues at ESPN influenced operating income for its cable business. Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said Tuesday that Disney is still considering what to do with those properties, which could still land on Netflix or a similar service.

"The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the USA for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar", the company said.

Disney will draw on its own content from its film and television catalog for its consumer channel, and offer a sports service which could fill a gap by delivering live sporting events.

The agreement with Netflix will end in 2019, when Disney expects its new platform to be available.

As part of the announcement, Disney also says they have purchased an additional 42 percent of BAMTech for $1.58 billion. The move is being seen as a potential major challenge to Netflix, whose shares fell 4% in after-hours trading on the back of the news, and to Amazon. It will use BAMTech's technology to launch direct-to-consumer streaming services for ESPN and Disney movies.

Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, Walt Disney Company, said "Today we announced a strategic shift in the way we distribute our content".

Disney and Pixar titles will be removed from Netflix, with this new service serving as the home for all Disney movies going forward. This includes content from the MLB, MLS, NHL, tennis Grand Slams and collegiate sports. Disney is series about moving into consumer streaming and for that goal it has bought a majority ownership in BAMTech for $1.58 billion. Likewise, the company will be investing in a yearly slate of exclusive content for the service, including original movies, TV shows, and short-form media.

Disney has acquired control of BAMtech, a streaming specialist originally started by the U.S. baseball league, to support its sports venture.

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