Disney Describes Streaming Plans, From 'Star Wars' to Pay-Per

Per Variety, CEO Bob Iger made the announcement during a question-and-answer session at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications, and Entertainment conference in Beverly Hills, California.

"We have now decided that we will put the Marvel and "Star Wars" movies on this as well", Iger said.

Disney is going to use the best tool it has at its disposal, which is the most popular franchises on the face of the planet, to draw people to their streaming service.

In the grand scheme of things, the Disney movie output deal has represented only a fraction of Netflix's overall content spending.

The ESPN service will arrive sooner - "sometime this spring", Mr. Iger said - and include, as previously disclosed, thousands of events not now shown on ESPN, including hockey, baseball, tennis, college sports.

Netflix isn't in danger of losing those to Disney's platform.

That library includes exclusively offering the full lineup of Disney properties on the service (500 films and 7,000 TV episodes), in addition to four or five original TV series and three or four original movies.

The decision also means that Netflix - which now has an exclusive deal with Disney to stream its new films - may not have any major titles from Disney after 2019, when their partnership ends. The service which will house Disney and Pixar films along with original films and series.

CBS's streaming service All Access used a similar strategy to drive success. There's no word yet on how much it will cost.

Netflix played down the effect of Disney's announcement, and said it would continue to do business with Disney globally, including its relationship with Disney's Marvel TV. With the service not slated to launch for over a year, though, Disney still has plenty of time to figure that out.

Successfully launching the new digital services is one of Mr. Iger's two top priorities in the remaining two years before his planned retirement in 2019, he said, along with lining up a successor for his own job.

  • Gwendolyn Kim