Disney’s Streaming Dreams: How Disruptive Is Its New Netflix-Style Strategy, Really? | Variety

The Mouse House is moving to cut the cord: Disney plans to launch at least two direct-to-consumer streaming subscription services, for ESPN and Disney movies and TV shows, in the next two years.

But right now, it’s not clear how dramatic the change will be for Disney as a whole. More than anything, it looks like a hedge against declining pay-TV subs — a desire to better control over its destiny in a streaming world.

What’s important to realize is that Disney is not turning its back on the traditional TV biz: The ESPN over-the-top service, set to debut early next year, will exclude NFL and NBA games from the 10,000 live events in the lineup. To watch ESPN’s pro football and basketball action, you’ll need to buy a regular TV bundle.

In addition, the Disney-branded subscription package will include Disney and Pixar films — after it yanks them away from Netflix, ending its three-year output deal with the streaming colossus beginning with 2019 theatrical releases. But where movies from Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” franchise wind up is TBD.

Whichever way that pans out, it shows Disney isn’t at this point ready to throw everything it has into a subscription VOD rival to Netflix. In fact, it’s conceivable Disney could sell SVOD streaming rights to “Star Wars” and Marvel pics to Netflix for the right price.

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Disney’s Streaming Dreams: How Disruptive Is Its New Netflix-Style Strategy, Really? | Variety.