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Disney To Launch ESPN Streaming Service, Leave Netflix By 2019

Disney To Launch ESPN Streaming Service, Leave Netflix By 2019

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) delivered some big news after reporting a third-quarter earnings beat on Tuesday.

Disney announced it was buying a majority $1.58 billion stake in BAMTech, the MLB Advanced Media service it initially took a $1 billion stake in last year. The move will acquire a 42 percent stake in BAMTech previously owned by MLBAM. Prior to the deal, Disney owned a 33 percent stake in the company.

See Also: Disney Announces Q3 Earnings Beat

ESPN Service

In 2018, Disney will also launch its own ESPN streaming service powered by BAMTech, which could help curb fears that cord-cutting would be the ultimate demise of the sports news leader. The new ESPN streaming service won't include NBA or NFL content, however, leading TheStreet's Eric Jhonsa to call it an "incremental move."

Disney Service

Disney also announced it will end its deal with Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and launch its own Disney-branded service.

Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases. The deal will end in the 2019 calendar year. Some of the first releases for Disney's proposed service will include "Toy Story 4," the "Frozen" sequel and "The Lion King." The company 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."

A Netflix spokesperson responded to the move, telling Benzinga "U.S. Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018. We continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company globally on many fronts, including our ongoing relationship with Marvel TV."

Disney shares were down a little more than 2 percent, while Netflix fell more than 3 percent in after-hours trading.

Another Acquisition?

MLB Advanced Media also provides service for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.'s (NYSE: WWE) WWE Network. PAA Research tweeted that this will change nothing in the short term, but long term sees Disney "as an acquirer of WWE when Vince [McMahon] decides to sell."

By Rob Poetsch (IMG_8037) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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