BAMTech, a streaming technology services group that underpins Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ direct-to-consumer services, used to belong to Major League Baseball (MLB).
Major League Baseball started streaming live video online with its MLB.TV in 2002 — three years before YouTube was a thing. It means Disney has now acquired one of the oldest streaming businesses in existence.
Fast forward to 2015, when MLB rebranded its streaming service as BAMTech, paving the way for Disney’s takeover.
Disney has had its eye on the streaming tech business for a while now, as it made its first move in 2016 after investing $1 billion, giving it a 33% stake in the company.
One year later, Disney invested an additional $1.58 billion, bringing its total stake to 75%. Last year, NHL decided to sell its 10% stake in BAMTech to Disney for $350 million, leaving the media conglomerate with a massive 85% stake in the company.
The most recent purchase coincided with the unexpected promotion of Bob Iger to the position of CEO, replacing former chief exec Bob Chapek, who spent only three years in the position.
At a company-wide meeting this Monday, Iger announced the company will prioritize profits over subscriber growth. Iger’s restructuring of the company has already seen Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, leaving the company.
The board has Iger’s back, stating that they “anticipate that within the coming months, Mr. Iger will initiate organizational and operating changes within the company to address the board’s goals.”
The company also touched on other changes it expects in the coming days.
“While the plans are in early stages, changes in our structure and operations, including within DMED (and including possibly our distribution approach and the businesses/distribution platforms selected for the initial distribution of content), can be expected,” the company said in a filing. “The restructuring and change in business strategy, once determined, could result in impairment charges.”