disney_svodservice disney_svodservice
DisneyInternet Television

Disney To Launch A Streaming Service In 2019

Disney will launch an ad-free Netflix-style subscription video service in 2019.

The announcement was made yesterday by Disney chief executive Bob Iger during an investor’s call. The yet-to-be-titled service is made possible by the expiration of Disney’s three-year streaming deal with Netflix, which ends in 2018. Netflix will lose access to its library of Disney- and Pixar-branded feature films; the company had been paying an estimated $300 million to Disney annually for the rights to stream 10 new Disney releases.

While the new service will make Disney a competitor to Netflix, the strategy is also designed as a hedge against “cord cutters,” the rapidly-growing number of people who are cancelling their cable and satellite subscriptions. (Disney also announced yesterday that it was also launching a second subscription service for its prized cash cow, the sports channel ESPN, which has been hit especially hard by the shrinking number of pay-tv subscribers.)

“This is an extremely important strategic shift for us,” Iger told the company’s investors of the new services. “I would put this at the top of our list in terms of the company’s strategic priorities in the next couple of years.”

In addition to animated and live-action features, the service will include library content from Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD. Disney will also “invest significantly” to create original long-form and short-form content that will be exclusive to the service.

It is not clear if the studio’s library of classic animated shorts will be available on the service.

Also not clear: Disney has yet to decide if the service will include Star Wars or Marvel content, but Disney could potentially start another service for those or sell the rights to a third-party, like Netflix. Iger told investors yesterday: “We’ve also thought about including Marvel and Star Wars as part of the Disney-branded service, but there, we want to be mindful of the Star Wars fan and the Marvel fan, and to what extent those fans either overlapped with Disney fans or they’re completely basically separate, incremental to Disney fans. So it’s all in discussion.”

A price for the service has yet to be announced.

For more thoughts on Disney’s pivot into streaming – and what it means for both Disney and Netflix – see these thoughts by media analyst Peter Csathy.

  • That’s Di$n€y for ya…

    • Chris Bennett

      Missed opportunity with a ¥ there.

      • BlueBoomPony

        Well, he got the D for the Gambian dalasi. :-)

  • Grant Beaudette

    Gotta put that technology they paid Major League Baseball billions for to good use, I guess.

    Can’t say I personally have enough need to pay an extra bill just for Disney stuff.

  • Disney’s own streaming service (Disney Movies Anywhere) suffers from severe performance issues. So there’s that.

  • Would it be reasonable to guess that Disney is intending to phase out of disc-based media with this service?

    • Tre

      Sure hope not as this is my main way of getting their media. Most likely the chunk of profit sites like Netflix wanted didn’t suit them as they want ALL the moneys!

    • Kyle_Maloney

      They already started down that path a while ago, their blu ray extras and been trimmed down to basically nothing. Its all barebones for most of their movies now.

  • Max

    If they I can get access to every Disney movies, they will have my money again!

  • I dont think it will be that bad, as Netflix is transitioning from a movie based service to a tv show based service, this will only push Netflix to produce more original animated movies and tv shows, now that they are gunna be at war with the Animation monopoly giant

    • KW

      I dont think theyre transitioning at all, they’re providing both types. They still release movies, they still have TV shows…and half those shows arent even produced by them, they just buy the rights to broadcast them on Netflix as opposed to NBC or Comedy Central or any other station.

  • Sharkey Shyster

    I’m wondering if they know all of the legal aspects about this. US vs Paramount Pictures broke up the motion picture studios from doing the monopoly of production, distribution and exhibition.
    If Disney’s streaming service is the only place you can stream a Disney movie and they only stream Disney movies then It’s a monopoly and will be subject to antitrust laws.
    I know what you’re thinking… “Netflix produces their own films and exhibits them.” But Netflix also streams other movies. You don’t have to watch only Netflix movies.

    • EdT

      The U.S. under the previous ‘Liberal’ President wasn’t interested in preventing or breaking up monopolies of any type. I doubt this regime will even bat an eyelash at this.

      • BlueBoomPony

        Trump was hardly friendly to businesses during the campaign. He called them out tax dodges (legal or not) of moving profits overseas, outsourcing, H1B visa abuse, etc. His win in the GOP primaries was a result of an internal GOP revolt against the old conservative ways.

    • Kyle_Maloney

      Its their own movies, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do this, legally?

    • BlueBoomPony

      I don’t think that qualifies as a breakable monopoly. There’s a hundred other things I could go watch.

    • James Wiseman

      In the U.S. monopolies are only illegal if the monopoly uses it’s power to restrain trade. The theater chains/movie studios spent about 10 years going back and forth with the FTC and the courts trying to avoid being forced to split up. There were several attempts to limit the studio’s power before they were forced to sell their theaters. In the end, the courts decided that none of the attempts to mitigate the studio’s power worked; that the studios would always abuse their relationship with their theaters to gain an unfair advantage over other producers, so the big theater chains and the major studios were split up. Since then, some theater chains and studios have formed partnerships again: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.m/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/02/amc-and-regal-to-acquire-and-release-movies-in-joint-venture.html?p=3 As long as they don’t abuse their partnership to restrain trade, it’s not illegal.

      Disney already owns ABC; owning a streaming service shouldn’t be that different from owning a TV network. And there are other streaming services available.

  • Elsi Pote

    Way too many folks with money in their pockets paying for every possible stream service that they don’t watch.

    • BlueBoomPony

      I have three. I watch things on Netflix and Hulu regularly (I’m one of those watch a TV show over dinner types) and I have Amazon video as part of Prime anyway.

      The problem they *solved* was too many cable channels we were paying for that we never watched, and the industry refused to go a la carte, so we bailed. Do you have any real stats showing people are now subscribing to streaming services they don’t use? Seems less likely as they are separate expenses versus all the cable channels being under one bill.

  • Luzz Hockey

    not sure why they don’t just keep it on hulu since they own a piece of that. you can already tell the market is too saturated with streaming services. plus disney will need to let the universe know that their platform even exists in the first place, which will be pretty hard for them. youd think theyd be smart and just license their shit forever.

    • James Wiseman

      This way they can keep all the profits; that’s one reason they started distributing films themselves in the early 50’s.

  • Jack Franco

    I thought this was a bad thing at first and then I realized this could be the place to get all those animated shows disney never does anything with.

    • William Stilwell

      Excellent point. If that’s the direction it goes in (being able to stream all of Kim Possible and Gravity Falls, among others), I welcome it with open arms.

  • GOATmaybe

    Only way I’d be interested is if this somehow brought back Wander over Yonder.

    • It certainly needs some form of exclusivity to make it work. New episodes of a show fans loved to death certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  • Josh Evans

    If they’re smart they’ll include it all in one package. This is a bold and, in my view, intelligent view. As television becomes increasingly irrelevant outside of streaming services, this is a smart way for Disney to corner it’s own market and continue to grow. They can pull this off because of their expansive and beloved library…something not many other studios can claim.

  • Moab Hale

    Will they continue to offer ESPN, etc. on SlingTV or is that going to be their own streaming too?

  • KW

    Im hoping this fails. The market is already strained enough with streaming services and a Disney service would likely saturate it even more. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO GO, Showtime, and no doubt others I cant even think of.
    And would parents be willing to pay for yet another service so their kids have something specifically for them? Why do that when you can have the kids watch whatever’s on TV? Are kids really that picky that they only want to watch specific Disney shows on demand? Netflix already has a plethora of children’s shows not from Disney.

    • James Wiseman

      Isn’t the Disney Channel already an upgrade over basic cable?

      • Not really, at least these days it isn’t. Nothing like the era it began in the 1980’s when it was a premium service like Showtime or HBO.

      • KW

        I dont think so, maybe it depends on where you live or who your cable provider is. But ever since I was in Jr High its been part of the regular cable package, but it only had commercials for other Disney stuff. When I was a youngster in the early to mid 90’s I remember it didnt have any commercials and it was just show after show. I was too young to know if my parents paid extra for it though.

  • Jack Newman

    I hope it gets released in Canada.

  • Capital_7

    I don’t think the market will bear another streaming service. They’re shooting themselves in their big yellow shoe.

  • BlueBoomPony

    I need to order more crates of facepalms, Most people I know went to 2 or 3 streaming services (the Netflix/Hulu/Amazon triumvirate) to get away from dozens of channels of noise. Gads, imagine if the various record labels started their own services instead of just having Spotify or Apple Music. Why did it go relatively well for music, but it’s stumbling around like an idiot for video? Just more money involved?

    And I thought ideologically leftist people like things centralized? ;-) I guess money still overrules all.

    • Sean McNally

      what the hell does the ideological left have to do with disney making its own streaming service, please stop trying to inject politics into literally every discussion you have

      • Capital_7

        You have to wonder why Amid would allow that stupid comment when we’re cautioned to stick to the subject so often.

    • Doconnor

      If Disney can become one of those 2 or 3 streaming services, they’ll be making a lot of money. With their top-notch children’s programming and they’re must-see movie selection they are in a good position.

  • Charlie Swan Pullin

    Did this in the UK already in 2015, it’s called DisneyLife.