Disney is moving forward in its mission to launch new subscription services starting next year.
The companyin August that movies from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar will no longer be available on Netflix starting in 2019 because of its own upcoming service. It also said an ESPN-branded video-streaming service will launch in 2018. This comes as cable TV sees falling subscriptions and people’s watching habits continually shift in the age of new media.
Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said Tuesday that accepting these permanent changes in viewing habits helped drive Disney’s decision. He was interviewed on stage by Vanity Fair special correspondent Nick Bilton at the magazine’s New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.
“At some point, we felt it would be necessary for us to not only be disrupted, but to disrupt our business ourselves,” Iger said. “We felt that we were no longer seeing a speed bump of disruption … What we were seeing instead was real, profound and permanent change.”
Iger said the mobile-friendly sports product, which will likely launch in the spring, will have 10,000 extra live sporting events. Viewers can purchase a monthly subscription to access them.
“Eventually, that app may possibly become the only way you watch ESPN,” Iger said.
The Disney-branded movie product will feature Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel films. The company will also make original films for the platform that won’t be released in theaters.
As part of the reveal of these services earlier this year, Disney also said it had acquired majority ownership of streaming video and internet services company BAMTech.
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