Today, The Walt Disney Company announced that they will be securing a majority stake in BAMTech, the streaming service operation created by Major League Baseball’s Internet and media company.
BAMTech in itself is a suite of technology products that allow for “direct-to-consumer streaming, plus marketing services, data analytics, and commerce management.” In other words, it has allowed the MLB to stream nearly every baseball game and related game info to its apps and online properties.
The technology later attracted many other sports and content companies that wanted to use the service for their own streaming needs. One of those companies was Disney. Last August, Disney purchased a minority stake in BAMTech for $1 billion. Today’s additional investment of $1.58 billion will solidify the company’s interest in using the streaming technologies to the fullest.
That includes the highly anticipated ESPN-branded multi-sport streaming service. As was has been widely reported for the past few years, subscribers to Disney’s sports channels have dwindled, causing havoc to Disney’s overall financial wellness since a strong majority of Disney’s revenue came from ESPN cable subscriptions. BAMTech is Disney’s hope of regaining those lost subscribers, as well as gain new ones who are opting to “cut the cable” and get their entertainment from un-packaged deals.
In addition to the ESPN streaming service, Disney also announced that it will be using BAMTech to shift all its digital products to its new Disney-branded streaming service. The yet-to-be-named service “will become the exclusive home in the U.S. for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar, beginning with the 2019 theatrical slate.” Original content and a library for existing content will also be accessible and be exclusively accessed by users of the new service.
With the shift in its online product strategy, Disney also announced that it will be ending its streaming deals with Netflix beginning in 2019. In a multi-billion dollar deal back made back in 2016, Disney chose Netflix to be the only place where all of its theatrical films would be streamed after their theatrical debuts. With the new unnamed service coming, it’s Disney’s hope that it would be an extreme incentive to use their service.
“This acquisition [of BAMTech] and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the Company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger regarding today’s announcement.
Online marketplaces like iTunes and Amazon will still carry Disney’s films for purchase.
The ESPN-branded streaming service will debut in early 2018. The Disney-branded streaming service will be unveiled sometime in 2019.
You can watch a video of what BAMTech is all about in the video player above.