Disney has announced plans to pull its content from streaming behemoth Netflix, as it readies its own service dedicated to Disney and Pixar movies.
During its latest earnings report, the house of mouse said it would be divorcing itself from Netflix towards the end of 2018, ending the distribution deal and replacing it with a new Disney-centric service planned to launch in 2019.
Netflix Original Marvel series such as Jessica Jones and Daredevil will remain on Netflix, but it’s uncertain what the move would mean for Marvel and Star Wars movies. No specific mention was made of these properties, but it’s very likely Disney will want to shift them to its own platform.
“We continue to do business with the Walt Disney Company on many fronts, including our ongoing deal with Marvel TV,” said a spokesperson for Netflix.
Disney’s exclusive deal with Netflix was settled in 2012 but only came into action last year. The announcement will come as a major blow for Netflix, left watching some of its most valuable assets leave like Toy Story’s Woody watching the other toys drive away in a removal van.
“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
Disney’s new service will be built using technology from Major League Baseball (MLB)-owned platform BAMTech, and will initially be directed at US viewers. Alongside its backlog of movies and shows, Disney will launch its streaming service with exclusives of upcoming films Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2. The company has said it will also launch an ESPN streaming service for sports next year.
It’s not all bad news for Netflix. In a move reminiscent of Disney, this week it was also announced that the service had acquired comic-book company Millarworld, and that it would be adapting existing material as well as commissioning new projects. Owned by Scottish comic book writer Mark Millar, the studio is responsible for titles including Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service. There may soon be an Iron Man-shaped hole in Netflix’s lineup, but the service could fill this with its own comic-book creations. The Adventures of Buffer Dude and Time Eater, perhaps.