Disney has announced they will no longer license their movies to Netflix after next year, as the company develops their own streaming services: ESPN, and a yet-to-be-named platform to launch in 2019 that will deliver Walt Disney Studios productions.
The exec also noted that the other option on the table was to add the Marvel and Star Wars films to the new Disney streaming service. Despite Netflix's growing popularity with TV and film lovers, aided in part by original series such as Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things and Riverdale, this move from Disney will act as a serious blow for Netflix whose shares have already dropped by 4% since the news.
Aside from offering all their latest releases as well as the back catalogue of all Disney movies, you will also be able to watch Pixar movies and if you like their TV shows, content from Disney XD and the Disney Channel.
We'll also tap into a vast library of movies and television shows that have been made by the company, the Channel and the Studio over the years, and we'll invest significantly in original movies and television shows exclusively for this subscription service.
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ESPN has faced the decline of TV subscribers in recent years and as a result, it was very much on the cards that it will have its own stand alone product but disclosure of a distribution agreement with its old associate Netflix has been hard on the investors.
Disney CEO Robert Iger said during the company's Q3 earnings call that no decision has been made as to LucasFilm (Star Wars) or Marvel movies. Further, because of this, Netflix plummeted to more than 5 percent. The new 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, beginning with the 2019 slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly-anticipated movies.
"Ultimately, we envision this will become a dynamic sports marketplace that will grow and be increasingly customizable, allowing sports fans to pick and choose content that reflects their personal interests", Iger said. The new service will be based on an "enhanced version" of the current ESPN app, which will continue to offer pay-TV subscribers access the ESPN programming on an authenticated basis. One of the biggest draws of Netflix content was its suite of Disney films.
Disney's cable networks, such as ESPN, make up the majority of the company's earnings. Viewers will have to wait and see whether Disney's "declaration of independence" pays off, and what exciting new measures Netflix will take to handle the blow.
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"Disney's announcement was light on details and did not sound terribly well hashed out".
While not the best omen for a direct-to-consumer service from Disney, there are some notable differences compared to the service announced yesterday.
This is not Disney's first attempt to go directly to the consumer.
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