US entertainment company Disney has announced it’s planning to launch its own streaming services. The move would involve dropping its partnership with Netflix and bypassing the cable companies it relies on.
With new streaming services in the pipeline, Walt Disney is trying to set itself up for a future without any dependence on Netflix.
The entertainment giant announced it would launch two streaming services of its own. One would be for films and TV shows and the other one for sports, the company added in a move that some analysts viewed as one of the boldest measures by an entertainment firm to adapt to a rapidly changing media landscape.
The company said it was starting its own streaming service for its Disney and Pixar brands that would allow it to bypass cable firms and Netflix with a view to charging consumers directly for access to its popular movies.
Market experts said this was important as the decline in cable households and the shift to smaller bundles pressured the profitability of Disney’s cable networks.
Moving with the times
Disney announced it would not deliver any new projects to Netflix starting 2019, thus ending an exclusive movie deal with the company.
Disney’s ESPN sports service is coming in early 2018 and is to air baseball, hockey and soccer games as well as tennis matches and college sports through a mobile app. Notably, ESPN will not be streaming professional football or basketball, at least initially.
“Ultimately, we envision this will become a dynamic sports marketplace that will grow and be increasingly customizable, allowing sports fans to pick and choose content that reflects their personal interests,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a conference call with analysts.
Disney made the streaming announcements Tuesday while reporting quarterly earnings. The company’s operating profit dropped by 10 percent to $4 billion (3.4 billion euros) in the third quarter ending July 1.
Media networks, studio entertainment and consumer products all posted reduced revenues.