The Walt Disney Company is making a new, sizable commitment to subscription streaming.
The entertainment giant plans to launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport streaming service in early 2018, followed by a new Disney streaming service in 2019, the company announced.
The ESPN streaming service will provide a range of programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sports packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.
ESPN streaming will be possible, Disney said, thanks to its acquisition of a majority stake in BAMTech — a streaming technology and marketing services company — from MLBAM, the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball.
The Disney service “will become the exclusive home in the US” for streaming the latest movies from Disney and Pixar, starting with the animated Toy Story 4 and Frozen sequel, and a live-action version of The Lion King. Disney will also “make a significant investment in an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives for the service.” The service will also include “a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.”
The service will also mark the end of Disney’s deal with Netflix, including streaming of new releases, starting “with the 2019 calendar year theatrical slate.”
Both streaming services will be available for purchase directly from Disney and ESPN in app stores, and from other distributors.
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