Updated August 11, 2017: Though Disney is launching a streaming service for its core Disney films in 2019, its Marvel and Star Wars films could remain on Netflix in the U.S.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters that the streaming service is in "active discussion" to form a new deal with Disney to continue streaming the studio's Star Wars and Marvel films.
Disney Chairman Bob Iger said on Tuesday that Star Wars and Marvel films could stay on Netflix, though he also said they could wind up on Disney's new proprietary service, or another streaming service entirely.
Original Story: Disney has made an agreement to acquire a majority stake in BAMTech, a streaming video service founded by Major League Baseball, with an intent to launch its own ESPN streaming service in 2018 and an overall Disney service in 2019.
As part of this, Disney will allow its current streaming deal with Netflix to lapse in 2019.
“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,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company in a statement. “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.”
“This is an exciting validation of our team, its achievements and the customer-centric platform it’s built,” added Michael Paull, Chief Executive Officer of BAMTech. “Yet, we’ve merely scratched the surface of what can be accomplished in a future where we combine Disney and ESPN’s world-class IP and our proprietary direct-to-consumer ecosystem.”
The unnamed Disney streaming service will be the exclusive United States hosting service for Disney's films, starting with 2019's theatrical slate including Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, and the live-action Lion King. The service will also feature original and proprietary content developed specifically for streaming.
Disney is just the latest multimedia corporation to plan a native streaming service. Back in April, Warner Bros. announced plans for a DC-branded digital service to launch in 2018 with Young Justice: Outsiders and the live-action Titans.
The deal will raise Disney's stake in BAMTech to a majority 42%. The multimedia conglomerate already owns 33% of the streaming service.