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Iger: Marvel, Lucasfilm Movies Moving From Netflix to Disney SVOD Service

7 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Disney CEO Bob Iger

The Walt Disney Co. will transition original Marvel and Lucasfilm (i.e. Star Wars) movies from Netflix to its own branded over-the-top video service in 2019, CEO Bob Iger told an investor group.

Speaking Sept. 7 at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 media, communications & entertainment confab in Los Angeles, Iger reiterated previously announced plans to move Disney and Pixar movies from Netflix when the companies’ landmark pay-TV distribution deal ends in 2018.

“We’re going to launch big and we’re going to launch hot,” Iger said, without elaborating on the service's pricing.

He said the service —- which could launch first internationally — would feature up to five original TV series and four original movies, in addition to thousands of library titles. It would complement the existing Disney Channel as a standalone app available to both pay-TV and non subscribers.

"It's one app, so one download, very, very simple for the consumer," Iger said. "We're very confident that as you look at the TV space or the media space … there is not only a room and a demand for Disney, but we'll have a content to back that up."

Until now it remained unclear if Marvel and Lucasfilm movies would be included in the transition as Disney moves into branded over-the-top video distribution, including ESPN. Marvel and "Star Wars" rank among Disney's top box office brands.

Netflix, reportedly, remained in negotiations to keep Marvel and "Star Wars." The announcement does not affect Netflix’s original Marvel-branded TV shows.

Meanwhile, Iger envisions the ESPN service offering users access to sporting events not available on the pay-TV channel. ESPN has lost pay-TV subscribers in recent years, putting pressure on Disney's stock and prompting the sports channel to reduce overhead costs, including downsizing on-air talent.

“The goal eventually is to create [an a-la-carte service] that the sports fan can use to design what the sports experience will be,” Iger said.

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