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Since last year, Netflix has been a great destination for people who wants to watch Disney's newer movies, from tales directly from the House of Mouse like The Jungle Book to to Marvel and Star Wars content like Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The plan was for Netflix to be the one-stop shop for all of Disney's movies from 2016 and beyond for many years. Well, that's now been thrown out the proverbial window, because Disney has decided to pull its movies off Netflix in favor of starting its own streaming service.
It was announced today that Disney has paid $1.58 billion for an additional 42% share in BAMTech, a streaming technology company owned by MLBAM, which itself is owned by Major League Baseball. With this acquisition, Disney is beginning plans to create its own streaming services, including an ESPN one that will launch early next year and a straightforward Disney media one sometime in 2019. This means that the exclusive deal between Disney and Netflix that went into effect last September is now finished, though according to CNBC, you still have some time to watch Netflix's Disney theatrical content, as they won't be removed from Netflix until 2018. Disney's new streaming service will also not affect the company's deal with Hulu (which streams many of the studio's older movies), and it will also not affect the Netflix's Marvel TV shows, like the upcoming Defenders miniseries.
While no specific details about the Disney streaming service were revealed during the company's quarterly earnings report, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that if a movie falls under the traditional Disney or Pixar brand (like Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4), it will be made exclusively available on the service. As for Marvel and Star Wars, it remains to be seen if that content will also be included on the service or if they will receive separate platforms for viewing. In its official announcement, Disney also revealed that it will make a "significant investment" in original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other exclusives for the service.
With this decision, Disney becomes the latest player in the streaming game. TV channels like CBS, HBO and Starz have gotten in on the action in recent years, and back in April, DC Entertainment announced it was launching its own digital service, which will be the exclusive home of Titans and Young Justice. But with its enormous catalog of entertainment material, made even larger by the purchase of Marvel and Lucasfilm over the past decade, Disney has the potential to rise to Netflix and Hulu's level of prominence. This is also another blow to Netflix, which, in the midst of doubling down on original content, has also lost a decent amount of its movie and television programming to competitors like Hulu and Amazon recently. Losing that Disney edge is extra painful.
The Disney streaming service is still in its infancy, so keep checking in with CinemaBlend as more information comes in about what it will have to offer. And be sure to look through our guide of what's premiering on Netflix through the rest of 2017.