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Disney CEO Says Deal With 21st Century Fox Joins 'Iconic' Franchises

BURBANK, Calif. (AP/WJZ) — Disney CEO Bob Iger says its deal for a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox is a chance to combine some of the world's "most iconic" entertainment franchises.

The deal worth approximately $52.4 billion is a strong sign that the home of Mickey Mouse is serious about an upcoming streaming service to compete with Netflix. The Disney-branded service, expected in 2019, will have classic and upcoming movies from the studio, shows from Disney Channel, and the "Star Wars" and Marvel movies.

In an audio webcast Thursday to discuss the deal, Iger said some of the Fox properties will fit with that offering, including National Geographic and additional Marvel productions.

The service is driven by changes in how viewers watch TV and movies. While Disney has benefited from years of selling packaged channels such as ESPN through cable and satellite TV distributors, many viewers are ditching traditional TV and watching online instead. A streaming service lets Disney reach those viewers directly.

During the webcast, Iger said, "Creating a direct (to) consumer relationship is vital to the future of our media business and it is our highest priority."

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(TM and Copyright 2017 CBS and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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