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International Business Times: Disney Is Leaving Netflix Soon, But How Many Users Will Leave Too?

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Publication date 8/11/2017

This week, Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger announced plans to pull Disney and Pixar films from Netflix in order to launch its own streaming platform. The move could hurt the streaming company, a recent survey shows.

Disney said it will launch its direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019, with an ESPN streaming service arriving next year.

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Disney’s move could have an impact on Netflix, as some people are considering cancelling their Netflix subscription when Disney pulls its content, a survey by performance-based marketing platform Fluent, provided to International Business Times Friday, shows.

Fluent conducted the survey on August 10 among approximately 2,900 U.S. consumers 18 years and older.

The survey found more than half of American households pay for at least one video streaming platform, with Netflix takin 43 percent of the total, followed by Amazon Prime at 18 percent and Hulu at 14 percent.

Data shows nearly two in ten Netflix users are considering cancelling their subscriptions. Parents of kids ages 0 to 18 are mostly the ones that are thinking about cutting their plan, making up nearly a quarter of those who plan on leaving Netflix when Disney and Pixar movies are taken down.

However, Netflix’s original shows, like “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” could keep the platform from losing customers. The survey found four in ten Americans are willing to pay for additional streaming services to access content they want to view, including “must watch” shows.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters Thursday Disney’s goal to stream its content directly to customer was expected and that it’s “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies.

“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he told Reuters at an event celebrating Emmy nominations for its original show “The Crown.”

Meanwhile, Iger said during a call with analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero movies from Marvel Studios and Star Wars films from LucasFilm.

Netflix seems to be trying to hold on to some Disney content. The company is in talks with Disney about hanging on to rights to stream Marvel and LucasFilm movies after 2019, when Disney and Pixar movies are pulled off the platform.

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What Will Disney’s Streaming Service Include?

Disney’s service will include 2019 movies, like “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen 2.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s service will include a “robust array” of sports programming and will feature about 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, Disney said.

Consumers will have access to games from Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and other sports. They will also have the option to purchase individual sports packages to view select sports.

However, Disney might have some trouble with its ESPN streaming service. The Fluent survey found only seven percent of U.S. customers would subscribe to the plan. The low number could be attributed to the lack of football and basketball content, the survey said.

Disney also announced this week it will acquire an additional 42 percent stake ($1.58 billion) in BAMTech, the streaming company founded by Major League Baseball.

“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,” said Iger in a press release.

Netflix will have to give up right to more than 100 Disney titles. The streaming company acquired Disney content in 2012, but waited until 2016 for it to arrive. Netflix told International Business Times on Tuesday that the platform will continue to stream Disney movies until the end of 2019.

“US Netflix members will have access to Disney films on the service through the end of 2019, including all new films that are shown theatrically through the end of 2018,” said Netflix representative Myles Worthington. “We [will] continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company globally on many fronts, including our ongoing relationship with Marvel TV.”

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