Disney Invests $1B in Streaming Service; Looks to Expand

Just when Disney announces their success in the third quarter of the fiscal year, they strike gold again by acquiring stakes in video-streaming.

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is now investing $1B dollars into BAMTech, a video-streaming company. The company now has 33% ownership of BAMTech and will make two payments; now and January of 2017. After the second payment is made, Disney will have an opportunity to become majority owner of the service that was originally created by Major League Baseball.

BAMTech is already considered top-notch in the world of direct-to-consumer streaming services with nearly 7.5 million paid subscribers. The technology will allow accelerated growth of video-delivery platform, flexibility with clients and affiliates, as well as open windows for new technologies.

ESPN, ABC Television Group, Freeform and other Disney products all fall under The Walt Disney Company umbrella. The mouse also has a 50% stake in the A&E networks. This new transaction allows the networks to be compiled and streamed, whether it be live or recorded.

The Walt Disney Company CEO and Chairman Bog Iger released a statement:

“Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company. We look forward to working closely with BAMTech as we explore new ways to deliver the unmatched content of The Walt Disney Company across a variety of platforms.”

The MLB, who is majority owner of BAMTech is also excited about the purchase. Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. stated:

“Every day the powerful partnership of technology and content becomes more important to consumers. We are excited to get to work with Disney and our longtime partners at ESPN in the important and ever-changing area of content distribution.”

As Disney, Major League Baseball and ESPN all continue to work with BAMTech, ESPN will continue to grow their WatchESPN app. Content to be expected on BamTech will include live sporting events on the regional, national and international levels.

“Bringing a multi-sport service directly to fans is an exciting opportunity that capitalizes on BAMTech’s premier digital distribution platform and continues ESPN’s heritage of embracing technology to create new ways to connect fans with sports. As WatchESPN continues to grow and add value to the multichannel video subscription, this new service will be an outstanding complement.”

– John Skipper, ESPN President and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks

While the initial release and statements only mentioned ESPN’s family of networks, this new deal has untapped potential with ABC and Disney animated features.

Netflix recently signed a deal with Disney to be the first streaming service to show a newly released Disney movie. This agreement gives Netflix priority rights, not exclusive rights; leaving the door open for many possibilities with BAMTech.

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