Disney’s interest in MLB’s BAM Tech
In April 2016, Re/code reported that The Walt Disney Company (DIS) is interested in buying an equity stake in MLB Advanced Media’s BAM Tech, a video technology company that offers a video subscription service for professional baseball. The service is owned by around 30 professional baseball teams through MLBAM. MLBAM also “handles video streaming” for clients including Disney’s ESPN’s WatchESPN streaming service.
Disney refused to comment specifically on its interest in MLB’s (Major League Baseball) BAM Tech at the company’s fiscal 2Q16 earnings call. However, the company did state that it believes that its significant intellectual property when it comes to its brands gives it an opportunity to offer a direct-to-consumer product. For Disney, it’s still not an easy decision to go direct-to-consumer, because it has to get its direct-to-consumer offering right from the technological perspective—and it also has to consider its content distribution agreements with its current distributors.
That said, the company has been encouraged by its response to Disney’s direct-to-consumer offering in the UK (EWU), DisneyLife. DisneyLife in the UK is priced at around $14 per month. The company had also partnered with Alibaba (BABA) to operate DisneyLife in China, though in late April 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that DisneyLife was suspended in China by Chinese regulators.
Viacom (VIAB) is another media company that has launched Noggin in Latin America, a mobile streaming subscription service targeted toward kids.
Disney noted in its earnings call that it has seen a good response to DisneyLife in the UK, primarily for movies and TV shows available through its over-the-top service. It has also seen a good response to the books, games, and music available on the OTT (over-the-top) service. The company also believes the service could be launched in other markets as well.