If you enjoy watching movies like Moana and Zootopia on Netflix, you'll probably want to pay attention to Disney’s announcement today. As reported by CNBC, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed that the company is ending its distribution deal with Netflix and is launching its own streaming service, which will debut in 2019.
The press release states: “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.” It’s not clear how this deal affects Lucasfilm and Marvel titles; Disney owns both these companies, but neither was specifically mentioned in the release.
It’s a surprising, but not shocking, move for Disney, considering its vast back catalog of material. Disney certainly can offer enough original content to support its own service. However, it’s also the latest in a frustrating trend of stand-alone streaming services, as opposed to licensing content for use on services that are widely subscribed to, such as Netflix and Hulu. It remains to be seen what will happen, especially to Marvel and Lucasfilm content. Disney also announced an ESPN streaming service, currently scheduled to launch early next year.