Stream­ing ser­vices for movies, live sports on tap

The com­pany is also ending its ear­lier deal with Net­flix.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - ByTali Ar­bel

Dis­ney is launch­ing stream­ing ser­vices for its movies and live sports, shak­ing up how it in­ter­acts with view­ers as it nav­i­gates a changing me­dia land­scape.

The Magic King­dom will launch a new stream­ing ser­vice in 2019 that will ex­clu­sively of­fer an­i­mated and live-ac­tion Dis­ney and Pixar movies, start­ing with re­leases such as “Toy Story 4” and the se­quel to “Frozen.”

Along the way, Dis­ney will end an ear­lier deal with Net­flix, which gave the pop­u­lar ser­vice ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the com­pany’s films for stream­ing.

Dis­ney also will make orig­i­nal movies and shows for the ser­vice, which isn’t named yet. It will of­fer a large li­brary of older Dis­ney and Pixar movies, as well as shows from TV chan­nels Dis­ney Chan­nel, Dis­ney Ju­nior and Dis­ney XD.

The com­pany says the ser­vice will be avail­able in “mul­ti­ple mar­kets” out­side the U.S. as well, tak­ing ad­van­tage of Dis­ney’s global name recog­ni­tion.

Dis­ney is also launch­ing an ESPN sports ser­vice in early 2018 that will air base­ball, hockey and soc­cer games, ten­nis matches and col­lege sports through ESPN’s pop­u­lar mo­bile app. Notably, ESPN will not be stream­ing pro foot­ball or bas­ket­ball, at least ini­tially.

Dis­ney didn’t an­nounce pric­ing.

To roll out its stream­ing ser­vices, Dis­ney is tak­ing ma­jor­ity con­trol of BAMTech, the stream­ing arm of Ma­jor League Base­ball, for $1.6 bil­lion. It now owns 75 per­cent.

“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,” said The Walt Dis­ney Co. CEO Robert Iger in a state­ment.

Hav­ing BAMTech gives Dis­ney “op­tion­al­ity” if the ca­ble ecosys­tem changes fur­ther, Iger said on a con­fer­ence call with an­a­lysts Tues­day. If there’s greater “ero­sion” — say, if more peo­ple drop ca­ble bun­dles or choose cheaper bun­dles with­out key Dis­ney chan­nels — the com­pany has more ways to get its en­ter­tain­ment to cus­tomers, Iger said.

He said there are no cur­rent plans to sell the Dis­ney or ESPN TV chan­nels di­rectly to cus­tomers on the apps.

David Kohl, Associated Press file

ESPN, long a ma­jor profit cen­ter for Dis­ney, has been shed­ding ca­ble sub­scribers as con­sumers cut the cord.

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