Disney has announced during an earnings report that it’s pulling from its 2012 deal with Netflix to create its own streaming service. The change will go in effect in 2019, meaning all films and TV shows released under the Disney umbrella before then will remain on Netflix while all future releases will never hit the platform.
To bring the service to life, Disney is investing an even larger stake in BAMTech, a video streaming platform founded by MLB. The company now owns 75% of the platform out of a $1.58 billion investment. Disney will also use this service to create an ESPN streaming service with “10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year.” There will also be various sports packages available from providers like the MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate sports, and Grand Slam tennis events. This service is expected to launch next year.
To put this withdraw in a better perspective, the next two Star Wars installments will hit Netflix, but the last film in the franchise won’t. Disney’s service will launch with films like Toy Story 4 and the Frozen sequel, alongside older Disney and Pixar titles from both the theaters and your television. At this point, it seems like the company is a little money hungry and wants in on the whole streaming craze, so I have a few thoughts on this subject.
First off, why start a streaming service? By doing so, you’ll have to do everything in your power to keep it alive when competitors like Netflix and Hulu have such serious gains on newbies. Then you’ll have to worry about subscriber counts, pricing, promotion, etc. It all sounds like a giant headache, right?
And another thing: what’s it gonna take to make the service worth it besides being the only place you can stream Disney movies and TV shows? Suppose people don’t find it worth an extra fee and simply push it aside? Suppose people just buy the content from iTunes or Google Play? Sure, Disney says they’re working on exclusive content for the service, but efforts like this can sometimes crash and burn. I hate to say it but look at YouTube Red. It has a really small exclusive category which blatantly sucks at this point. Does Disney really want this type of image if things don’t go their way?
Maybe I’m being too critical. Maybe I’m not making sense. But to me, if Disney wanted more money and they had to drift away from being included in whatever price services like Netflix and Hulu charge you every month, the least they could’ve done was charge customers an extra monthly fee like $8 or $10 extra per month. This could’ve opened the door for the company to make their content available to people who may already have Netflix and/or Hulu by just being an add-on. This could’ve also been applied to services like YouTube TV or DirecTV Now as well to reach an even broader audience.
Look, I’m just a tech journalist. But I still feel there’s other ways of going about this. I’m not saying I won’t check out Disney’s streaming service in 2019 when it launches because I’m all about free trials and stuff, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake this feeling.