Today, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would pay $1.58 billion to acquire a 42% stake in BAMTech to add to the 33% acquired last year, making them majority owners in the multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service, MLBAM, (Major League Baseball Advanced Media) which will relaunch next year under the ESPN brand.
But that’s not all. MLBAM is also the streaming service for products like HBO Now and dozens of others (though I don’t see The Blaze hanging around for long with Disney as the boss); as of July 31 of this year they were averaging 10 million streaming sessions per day on their MLB streams alone.
This also means that starting in 2019, Disney will be ending its distribution agreement with Netflix. The new service, new name as yet unannounced, will be the sole distribution-via-streaming service for Disney product in the US. Disney also promises new, exclusive content for the service as well as access to beloved classics. Content will be available for purchase in all of the usual places – via the service, in app stores, and via authorized MVPDs.
All of this is pending regulatory approval, after which Robert Iger will serve as Chairman of the Board of BAMTech.