This week, Disney dropped a few major announcements related to streaming services.
Disney to leave Netflix, launch own streaming service
The biggest and most discussed news is that Disney’s launching its own streaming service in 2019. Content will consist of Disney-branded material. This includes Disney’s animated films, plus their shows from Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Junior.
As such, Disney’s pulling its Disney branded shows from Netflix in 2019. From what I’ve heard, the non-Disney branded material Disney owns (ABC, Freeform, the various Netflix Marvel shows, “Star Wars,” etc.) should stay put… at least, for now. (Update: nope, the superheroes and droids are also heading to Disney.)
For Netflix, this represents the big loss of a major animation studio’s library. Granted, Netflix has invested heavily in its own animated fare, though largely via a deal to carry Dreamworks produced shows such as “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” If Comcast, who now own Dreamworks, gets similar ideas to shift Shrek and company away from Netflix, that’d leave Netflix’s animation library in a troublesome spot.
As for the idea of paying for another streaming service: on the one hand, it’s Disney, so parents might pay for such a Disney-centric service. On the other hand, it’s yet another streaming service being launched by a TV network/media conglomerate (on top of CBS All Access, Boomerang, etc.) As I’ve written before, it’s best to limit your purchases of streaming services to several, tops.
ESPN to launch streaming service in 2018
Disney also announced they’re buying a majority ownership stake in BAMTech. That’s the company whose tech is used to run services like MLB.TV and NHL.TV. The latter’s the renamed/revamped Gamecenter Live, the NHL’s out-of-market game streaming service. In Canada, it still goes by the name, albeit spelled “Gamecentre Live“; it’s also run by Canadian cable/broadband giant Rogers.
This gives ESPN an indirect link to covering hockey. This seems ironic, as some hockey fans criticize ESPN for not paying enough attention to the NHL.
Related to the above, an ESPN streaming service will launch in 2018, offering an assortment of sports coverage. There’ll also be heavy ties to the aforementioned NHL.TV and other sports streaming packages.
I imagine hardcore sports fans will be interested in paying just for ESPN; it’d also mean not paying for Sling TV or the like just for one channel.