Disney ditches Netflix deal to launch its own streaming service

Netflix just got some stiff competition.

Disney announced Tuesday that it would be launching its own video streaming service — along with an ESPN-branded platform — which will broadcast thousands of movies and sporting events each year.

The media giant revealed the move during its latest earnings report, adding that they will be ending its theatrical distribution deal with Netflix and removing all its content.

The new streaming services are expected to launch in 2018 and 2019 — and will be run by BAMTech, a digital media division founded by Major League Baseball.

Disney said in a press release that they had purchased the company for $1.58 billion.

“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,” explained Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.

“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,” he said.

Disney’s video streaming service is slated to start in 2019, while the ESPN-branded multi-sport platform will launch a year earlier.

The company’s purchase of BAMTech is ultimately a major blow to Netflix, which landed a lucrative streaming deal with Disney back in 2012. The terms of their agreement had just gone into effect last year.

Netflix stock reportedly dropped by more than 5 percent following Disney’s announcement.

According to Disney, their video and ESPN streaming services will be available for purchase through app stores and authorized MVPDs.

In addition to its massive film library, the company plans to release an “annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives” for their video service.

The first batch of movies that will be featured upon its release will be from the 2019 theatrical slate, and will include Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and live-action remake of The Lion King.

This means that Netflix will likely still be able to release the next two Star Wars movies — The Last Jedi and the untitled Han Solo movie — but not the trilogy’s final installment.

“The…

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