Disney is going to go its own way when it comes to streaming, announcing Tuesday that it will be ending its distribution deal with Netflix. The company plans to launch its own branded streaming service in 2019 and will also debut an ESPN service early next year.
The announcement came during Disney’s quarterly earnings report and was detailed in a news release from the media giant.
The move is made possible by Disney’s acquisition of a majority stake in BAMTech, the streaming video arm founded by Major League Baseball. Disney acquired a 33-percent stake in BAMTech last year for $1 billion, and added an additional $1.58 billion on Tuesday for a 75-percent stake.
The ESPN-branded service will offer approximately 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.
The content will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app, Disney said.
Disney will stop sharing streaming content with Netflix starting with 2019 theatrical releases. Big titles coming that year include “Toy Story 4,” “Frozen 2,” and the live-action “The Lion King,” CNBC reported.
“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a news release. “This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands.”
The Disney and ESPN streaming services will be available for purchase directly from Disney and ESPN, in app stores, and from authorized service providers.
Netflix stock took a hit on the news, as shares were down more than three percent in after-hours trading.