The Walt Disney Company is throwing its hat into the streaming ring!
The company made three huge announcements today: first, the House of Mouse has agreed to pay $1.58 billion to acquire the majority ownership of streaming platform, BAMTech, LLC; next, that the company will launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018, and finally, the big news that's got fanatics jumping for joy (and likely throwing Netflix into a tizzy) is that there will be a new Disney-branded streaming service, which will be rolled out in 2019.
According to a statement on the Walt Disney Company's website, "The new Disney-branded service will become the exclusive home in the U.S. for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate, which includes Toy Story 4, the sequel to Frozen, and The Lion King from Disney live-action, along with other highly anticipated movies."
Like its competitor, Disney says that it will also make "significant investment" in its original movies, TV shows and short-form content. Disney also says that the service, which is still a year and a half away, will showcase the brand's vast and lengthy library of content, which Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.
"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 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."
The big move also means a big change for the company's relationship Netflix, which streams Disney films and TV shows. Disney also announced that as a result of having its own streaming service new releases would no longer be on Netflix starting in 2019.
The statement read, "Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning with the 2019 calendar year theatrical slate."
In an interview with CNBC earlier today, Iger said that the price for the service will be competitive with Netflix.