The Walt Disney Company announced that it has agreed to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech, and will launch a new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019, so it will end its licensing deal with Netflix in US. Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a conference with analysts that the company will “also rollout the service in multiple markets outside the United States”.
According to the executive, the international rollout “will vary from market to market based on existing distribution agreements and different market dynamics. But I think you have to think about a Disney branded direct-to-consumer subscription service as a global product, even though we are being more specific today about launching a domestic product in the latter part of 2019”.
The company also confirmed that it will launch in 2018 a ESPN-branded streaming platform, as it was already announced. The new Disney service will be the home of Disney and Pixar films, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes “Toy Story 4”, the sequel to “Frozen”, and “The Lion King” from Disney live-action. In addition, it will feature library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.
The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring 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. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.
Disney said it will pay USD 1.58 billion to acquire an additional 42% stake in the technology service and streaming company BAMTech. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. Disney previously acquired a 33% stake in BAMTech under an agreement that included an option to acquire a majority stake over several years.