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Disney Hires Apple Veteran to Launch Its Netflix Killer (EXCLUSIVE)

Disney’s BAMTech Media has hired former Apple and Samsung executive Kevin Swint as SVP and GM, Disney SVOD Service, to build, and ultimately run, the company’s upcoming Netflix competitor, Variety has learned.

Swint joined this month, and will be reporting to BAMTech CEO Michael Paull, a BAMTech spokesperson confirmed.

Most recently, Swint worked as VP product / content & services for Samsung, where he built out the company’s Milk Music streaming service as well as Milk Video, a mobile video aggregation service. Before that, he worked for five years at Apple, heading the worldwide iTunes movie business. Earlier in his career, Swint led digital products and services for Walmart.

Disney announced last summer that it plans to launch an ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer offering early this year, followed by a Disney-branded service in 2019. To power the service, Disney acquired a large stake in the streaming solutions provider BAMTech for $1.58 billion last year. Disney had previously owned a smaller stake in BAMTech, and now holds the majority ownership.

To prepare for the launch of its own subscription video business, Disney announced that it won’t renew its distribution agreement with Netflix. Future Disney movies will instead be streaming on the company’s own service, starting with the 2019 theatrical slate.

Disney’s plans to take on Netflix with its own paid service could ultimately get a boost by the company’s planned $52.4 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox, which was officially announced in December. However, it’s unlikely that Fox content would be available via the new service at launch, as Disney expects regulators to take as much as 18 months to clear the deal.

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