By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Disney is gearing up on their initiative to create a trio of streaming media channels to compete against Netflix. To hit the ground running, they have hired former Apple iTunes executive Kevin Swint as Senior VP & General Manager to develop and run their new streaming channels. But with controlling interest in Hulu, does the Mouse House really need to build from the ground up, or are they expecting the Feds require them to get rid of Hulu?
After a five year stint at Apple, where he ran the iTunes worldwide movie business, Kevin Swint worked at Samsung as VP of product, content and services, running the company’s Milk Music streaming service and it’s Milk mobile video service. Disney will position Swint at their BamTech Media division, where he will report to CEO Michael Paull in the creation and running of Disney’s upcoming streaming video on demand services for their Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN and Disney products. Disney purchased a majority stake in BamTech for $1.58 Billion last year with the eye to use the portal as a launching point for it’s streaming media services.
After recently announcing that they wouldn’t be renewing their exclusive deal for video on demand through Netflix, Disney has already begun the process of pulling all their titles from the streaming portal, and with its acquisition of 21st Century Fox Studios, they now enjoy a majority stake in Hulu. Since it could take up to a year and a half for the sale to be approved by Federal regulators, Disney could use Hulu as a holding place for any movie titles and television properties until their company’s own home grown service comes on line sometime next year.
Disney will own a total of 61% streaming service with the Fox acquisition, so the FCC may require Disney to be either a silent partner with their stake, or liquidate the additional shares of Hulu as a precondition for approval. So it’s unlikely that the Mouse House will use Hulu as the centerpiece of their streaming media strategy and thus, the hiring of Swint to come in and oversee the building of Disney’s streaming division from the ground up.
Honestly though, I think the expectation on Disney’s part that users will want to subscribe to separate streaming services for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney and ESPN is a bit unrealistic. The whole idea behind cutting the cord is to avoid higher entertainment media bills. Already we’re seeing that with ala carte services, the notion that saving money by cutting the cord hasn’t really materialized. $5 for a service here, $10 there, $35 for live TV streaming, and then your internet connection. It adds up. I know I have no interest in paying for each individual streaming channel. But if Disney can offer a single Disney service for say, $12, and it comes with Amazon like channels for each property, well now we’re talking.
Looks like Kevin Swint will have his hands full. But that’s a good place to be.
Hat Tip – Variety