Disney to Ditch Netflix, Launch Own Streaming Service

Services will be launched for both movies and live sports
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 8, 2017 6:48 PM CDT
Disney to Launch Own Streaming Service
In this Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.    (Richard Drew)

Disney is launching streaming services for both its movies and live sports, shaking up how it interacts with viewers as it navigates a changing media landscape, the AP reports. The Magic Kingdom will launch a new streaming service in 2019 that will exclusively offer animated and live-action Disney and Pixar movies, starting with releases such as Toy Story 4 and the sequel to Frozen. Along the way, Disney will end an earlier deal with Netflix, which gave the popular service exclusive access to the company's films for streaming. Disney will also make original movies and shows for the service, which isn't named yet. It will offer a large library of older Disney and Pixar movies, as well as shows from TV channels Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD.

The company says the service will be available in "multiple markets" outside the US as well, taking advantage of Disney's global name recognition. Disney is also launching an ESPN sports service in early 2018 that will air baseball, hockey, and soccer games, tennis matches, and college sports through ESPN's popular mobile app. Notably, ESPN will not be streaming pro football or basketball, at least initially. Disney didn't announce pricing. To roll out its streaming services, Disney is taking majority control of BAMTech, the streaming arm of Major League Baseball, for $1.6 billion. It now owns 75%. Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger said there are no current plans to sell the Disney or ESPN TV channels directly to customers on the apps. (Read more Disney stories.)

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