Netflix’s growth in the last decade has left many industry peers reeling and attempting to catch up. The streaming service dominates content delivery, and has invested heavily in lucrative partnerships and original content. Now, one of their biggest scores, the highly popular Disney catalog, is leaving Netflix.
There’s only one plausible reason for the departure. Disney is exploring their own streaming service.
The move makes sense for Disney, who tightly controls its intellectual properties. They’ve long maintained limited release cycles for videos and DVDs, a trend that spikes demand and creates lasting value on the resale market. That they licensed distribution to Netflix in the first place took many by surprise.
Their current contract will end in 2019. CNN is reporting that Disney will “acquire a majority stake in BAMTech, a major streaming and marketing service.”
“Disney’s cable networks, such as ESPN, make up the majority of the company’s earnings,” CNN writer. “However, that proportion has fallen in recent years as viewers change the way they consume entertainment. The new streaming services are a way to connect directly with consumers and take advantage of new viewing habits.”
To that end, Disney is investing 1.58 billion in BAMTech. The company acquired a 33% share last august, and is now buying more. They’re also planning an ESPN streaming service, too. The ESPN service plans to stream 10,000 live events per year.
While news of the Disney departure may leave millions of little girls without access to their princesses, the ESPN news is promising for sports fans. Live Sporting events are a major reason why many still have cable and satellite subscriptions.
“The Disney service will be the only place where U.S. viewers can watch new live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, including “Toy Story 4,” the “Frozen” sequel and “The Lion King” live-action movie,” CNN notes. “It will also feature content from the Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD.”
As each of the various Disney owned franchises end their deals with Netflix, they’ll migrate over. This includes Marvel titles, the Star Wars titles, Disney movies and even Pixar.
The loss will be substantial for Netflix. Disney’s streaming efforts, though, will not include the diversity supported by Netflix, and it remains to be seen just how many will be willing to subscribe to two or more streaming services.