We all knew this day was coming.
Netflix may have been one of the big companies that pioneered the idea of streaming content, but as it became more ubiquitous to stream content online, it became clear that the market would become increasingly fractured. At some point, big studios would release their their own streaming services, and eventually, Netflix would be left out in the cold. Thus began Netflix’s huge foray into content creation with shows like House of Cards, and currently they are still paving the way for original features online with movies like Okja and Bright.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen some TV networks have their own streaming services: HBO, The CW, Showtime, and more, but they haven’t done much to make a huge dent in the library. Well, times have changed, and thanks to separate reports from TheWrap and Variety, we now know that the first big fish has left the pond.
According to TheWrap, Disney has announced plans to launch their own direct-to-consumer streaming service — one that would rival Netflix. It sounds like they are tired of folks cutting cords, and will no longer leave fate to Netflix. They will begin with their 2019 slate, though it’s unclear just when their movies will leave Netflix. The House of Mouse has also made known their plans to buy majority ownership of a company called BAMTech for $1.58 billion.
Regarding this, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said:
“Today we announced a strategic shift in the way we distribute our content. The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market. This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands.”
Variety reports that Disney will launch an ESPN-branded streaming service early next year, and a Disney-branded one in 2019. This will obviously server has heavy competition for Netflix, who made its name off the digital distribution of films and TV shows of big studios like Disney. As of right now, this only applies to straight Disney and Pixar films, and there has been no statement regarding Marvel and Lucasfilm movies, though I think it’s safe to assume those ones will follow suit.
But don’t think that Disney will settle for simply port over their content. They will also make a “significant investment” in an “annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service.”
Now, the fact that Netflix is over $6 billion in debt certainly sounds like money well spent. Once Disney leaves, Netflix will need their hot ticket items to ensure that audiences don’t leave them in favor of The House of Mouse.
What do you think of this report? Are you happy to hear about this, or is it frustrating to see the landscape become even more splintered? Let us know your thoughts down below!