Disney has announced that the company will be breaking ties with Netflix in order to start their own Disney direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.
The new Disney-branded streaming service will become the exclusive home for subscription video and on-demand viewing of live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar. The service will kick off in the U.S. with their 2019 theatrical slate, including titles such as Toy Story 4, the Frozen sequel, and the live-action The Lion King, alongside other highly anticipated Disney films.
In addition, Disney is also making an investment to develop an annual slate of original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney exclusives for the streaming service. The library will include Disney and Pixar content, and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programs.
Disney’s move means that the company will end its agreement with U.S. Netflix for subscription streaming of new release titles in the beginning of 2019. The move is a huge shift for Disney who first struck a deal with Netflix in 2012 and since made popular titles such as Moana and Zootopia available to stream for Netflix users.
CEO Bob Iger told CNBC that Disney had a “good relationship” with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform.
While Pixar and Disney titles will be making the shift, the company has not decided whether Marvel or Lucasfilm will also join the streaming platform.
“It’s possible we will continue to license them to a pay service like Netflix, but it’s premature to say,” said Mr. Iger to The New York Times. “There has been talk about launching a proprietary Marvel service and ‘Star Wars’ service,” he added. However, according to NYT Disney was cautious about stand-alone services for those film brands, in part because a large amount of content would be needed to satisfy subscribers.
According to Netflix, the statement made by Disney will only impact those in the U.S.
“Our deals with Disney OUTSIDE the US remain exactly as is. It doesn’t have any impact on all Disney movies we may have under separate deals in those markets. The statement Disney made only impacts the US and only the pay one output deal for theatrical films. US Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the 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 on many fronts, including our ongoing relationship with Marvel TV.”