Immediately after Disney and Netflix announced they would be (somewhat) amicably parting ways, Disney began making moves to begin launching its own streaming brands. Disney issued a press release yesterday announcing they have purchased BAMTech, which describes the firm as “a global leader in direct-to-consumer streaming technology and marketing services, data analytics, and commerce management.” In other words, an all-in-one streaming and advertising firm. Should other streaming services be worried, or very worried?
Disney was already a part owner in BAMTech, which runs the behind-the-scenes technological wizardry for ESPN streaming apps. Just this week, however, Disney purchased an additional 42% of the company for a reported $1.58 billion. The purchase immediately sent shares of BAMTech skyrocketing, causing analysts to raise the current value of the company at somewhere close to $3.75 billion.
According to a Disney press release, the purchase will help Walt Disney Company launch an ESPN-branded “multi-sport video streaming service” sometime early next year, after which they will roll out a new “Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service” sometime in 2019. Direct-to-consumer implies that the service could carry exclusive streaming content, or perhaps even premiere new films with streaming releases alongside current theatrical releases.
Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger says the purchase will strengthen the media giant’s already-strong relationship with consumers while also placing them squarely in the forefront of the streaming media revolution:
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. This acquisition 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.
Details are still scarce, but already some tech outlets are calling the looming Disney-branded streaming service “the next phase of the streaming evolution” and, in a nod to the fact that Mickey Mouse now controls the Star Wars franchise, “a Force to be reckoned with.” Let’s just hope Mickey isn’t tempted into an exorbitant monthly price by the dark side of the Force. My kids are gonna want a Disney subscription.
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