By Andre Jones
If you like watching Disney movies on Netflix, you’d better binge all you can now. Disney will be pulling its movies from Netflix and starting its own streaming service.
While announcing its quarterly results Tuesday, The Walt Disney Company also announced its plans to stop providing new content to Netflix in 2019 and launch its own subscription-based streaming service. This move appears to be a calculated gamble as more and more viewers are abandoning traditional broadcast television.
As the world’s biggest entertainment company, Disney is betting that it can generate more revenue in the long term by streaming its own content instead of licensing that content to services such as Netflix. “We’ve had a good relationship with Netflix. This represents a big strategic shift for the company," said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a CNBC interview with Julia Boorstin.
Though the plan was initially for Netflix to be a one-stop shop for Disney content from 2016 going forward, Disney has decided to go in a different direction and has already taken key steps towards doing so. Disney announced Wednesday that it has acquired an additional 42 percent share in BAMTech, a streaming technology company owned by the online and interactive branch of Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM). "We felt that having control of a platform we've been very impressed with after buying 33 percent of it a year ago would give us control of our destiny, “Iger said.
Netflix currently streams over 100 Disney titles, including box office hits such as The Chronicles of Narnia, Lilo & Stitch, and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. If losing access to those wasn’t enough to break your heart, it should be noted that Disney also owns the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which contains title such as Dr. Strange and Captain America: Civil War – both currently streaming on Netflix (US). Disney’s move is strategically important as this will directly affect highly anticipated upcoming MCU titles such as Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Netflix subscribers will still have time to watch Disney movies, as the content will not be removed until 2018, as Disney launches its service with ESPN One, which will stream a whopping 10,000 sporting events annually and continues with Disney Media in 2019, investing heavily in original content for its new streaming platform.
This new direction will not affect Disney’s deal with Hulu – which streams a lot of Disney’s older content or Netflix’s Marvel TV shows such as Daredevil, Luke Cage, and the upcoming mini-series The Defenders.