In an August 8, 2017, announcement, the Walt Disney Company revealed its plan to launch a Disney streaming service. Additionally, Disney is poised to launch an ESPN-branded sports streaming service in 2018, with the Disney-branded streaming platform arriving in 2019.

Disney streaming service coming soon…

Disney streaming service

The Walt Disney Company is a true juggernaut. Boasting everything from the Disney Channel to classic Disney movies and shows, Disney XD, plus ESPN, as well as Lucasfilm and Marvel properties, Disney holds a massive assortment of content. Through acquiring BAMTech, Disney has an ESPN-branded multi-sport videos streaming service in the works. Following in 2019, Disney will launch a straight-to-consumer Disney-centric streaming service.

Along with this announcement, Disney allowed that it plans to pull most of its content from Netflix. It’s unclear how this will affect certain Marvel and Lucasfilm properties, however. Netflix co-creations such as “Marvel’s Luke Cage” and “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” will remain on Netflix streaming.

“The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market,” – Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company

The move is about control of content. Therefore, Disney can offer exclusivity in its programming. This isn’t new, but instead another manifestation of a major trend in streaming. We’ve seen this happen with Netflix delving into original series like “Stranger Things,” and “Orange is the New Black,” Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” and EPIX’s “Berlin Station.”

Why I’m not feeling this new Disney streaming service

I’ll attempt to reserve judgment until after more details about this Disney streaming service emerge. On the one hand, this offers the opportunity for potential awesome exclusive content. I’ve loved what Netflix has produced with “Stranger Things,” and EPIX’s “Berlin Station” really impressed me as well.

But what worries me is the plan to pull its content from Netflix. Don’t panic just yet, as perhaps this won’t include some Marvel and Lucasfilm movies and shows. As TorrentFreak astutely points out, this move is what keeps pirating relevant. Having to manage and pay for several different services gets pretty pricey. I currently subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Showtime, FUNimation, and EPIX. With increased stratification in the streaming space, you’ll require more and more subscriptions.

I don’t think everyone should go about launching their own streaming service. For one, it’s tough to compete with heavy hitters like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. Nich services such as the horror-focused Shudder and film buff-oriented Film Struck continue to thrive by targeting specific subsets of the population.

Notably, certain networks like CBS do have their standalone services. Yet, CBS content hasn’t been pulled from Netflix or Hulu. Instead, only certain shows are syndicated, fostering an incentive to subscribe to CBS All Access for those seeking live and on-demand content.

Final thoughts on Disney launching its own streaming platform

Look, I think there’s plenty of opportunity for Disney’s streaming service. With its bevy of content, I have no doubt that it’s poised for success. With a big name and tons of varied content, Disney is an automatic player in the streaming space. I am excited, however, for the ESPN-branded sports streaming platform. As a cord cutter, it’s tough to find sports streaming services. It’s not that I don’t feel a Disney-branded streaming service is a necessary service. Rather than pulling content from Netflix, why not just focus on providing exclusive content, like resurrecting movies and shows from the Disney Vault, and hosting new films like “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen 2?”

  • Lucasfilm & Marvel properties being possibly left out of this and remaining on Netflix makes this is a bit easier to swallow, but if their new subscription site is the only placed folks can (legally) see Disney movies, old and new, that’s still going to meet resistance. Those movies mean a lot to folks, old and young, and while I’m sure some would be willing to pay a monthly fee for access to them — especially if it includes stuff from “the vault” that’s not been released for years — not all will. And where will this leave the Disney Channel and Disney XD? It’s almost getting to the point where it costs more to subscribe to all the streaming services you’d want than it is to have cable.

    • Moe Long

      Legally watching Disney movies old and new is a main concern. Plus, the Marvel/Lucasfilm properties are in a gray area. Marvel/Netflix partnerships are definitely staying, but it’s unclear about stuff like Rogue One.

      I like the idea of these streaming services for a sort of a la carte video landscape. But compare with Disney plans in removing its content from rivals to what CBS All Access does in leaving certain shows i.e. NCIS, CSI, on other streaming services. But reserving its newer and more popular content, like the forthcoming Star Trek series, on All Access. I’m holding out on criticizing too much, but I’m skeptical. Totally agree about the higher cost to manage subscriptions than maintain cable.