During yesterday’s important presentation for analysts and Wall Street investors, Disney finally took the wraps off an upcoming content-packed video-streaming service, dubbed Disney+.
It’ll be available through a standalone Disney+ streaming app on mobile, web, smart TVs and game consoles and will include both new and existing movies and series from Disney as well as from its other properties. According to Bloomberg, Disney+ will also be available as a tvOS app on Apple TV, as evidenced by a slide from the presentation.
Disney’s boss Bob Iger says that his company hasn’t finalized deals with all of the platforms as of yet, but hinted that the streaming app will “in all likelihood be available through traditional app distributors, Apple being one of them,” so there’s that.
All 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available from day one, a huge plus.
In addition, all Star Wars films along with complete Pixar library, including Pixar theatrical shorts, will be available on Disney+ the first year of launch. The service will provide content in up to 4K HDR, offline viewing will be supported and there will be individual profiles for each user in the household featuring their own avatars using iconic Disney characters.
Disney has already partnered with Roku and Sony for a PS4 version of the app.
Screenshots shared by CEO Bob Iger on Twitter and Disney’s own video reveal a nicely designed app with a darkened interface, personalized recommendations, the ability to continue watching a show and more. There are also various categories dedicated to Disney’s iconic entertainment brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
The thing is launching in the US on November 12 at just $7 per month.
Nope, not a typo. As if that weren’t enough, yearly subscriptions will be even more affordable at $70 per year. Disney+ will “rapidly expand globally” following its US debut, with plans to be in “nearly all major regions” of the world within the next two years, according to the firm.
Such a sweet price point brings a significant competitive advantage to Disney+ relative to all the other streaming services. Netflix now starts at $9 per month following a recent price hike, HBO NOW is $15 per month, an ad-free CBS All Access subscription is $10 per month while Hulu charges $12 per month for its no-ads tier.
Disney is also developing exclusive new content for its streaming service. Check out some of the newly announced TV shows that will debut on the upcoming service:
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier—A live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier.
- WandaVision—A live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision.
- Marvel’s What If…?—The first animated series from Marvel Studios and takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
Walt Disney Animation Studios:
- Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2—A documentary series showing the hard work and imagination that go into making one of the most highly anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios features of all time.
Pixar Animation Studios:
- Toy Story-based projects Forky Asks a Question—An animated short series, and the short film Lamp Life.
- The World According to Jeff Goldblum—A documentary series where Goldblum pulls back the curtain on a seemingly familiar object to reveal a world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and a whole lot of big ideas.
- Magic of the Animal Kingdom—A documentary series which takes viewers behind the scenes with the highly respected animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium.
Disney Television Animation:
- The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title)—An animated film featuring many of the original voice cast.
In the service’s first year, subscribers will also have access to family-friendly Fox titles like The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride and Malcolm in the Middle as part of a collection of 7,500+ television episodes and 500 films, including blockbuster hits from 2019 and beyond.
This is the famous Disney brand so the service is going to be family oriented.
But make no mistake about it, the Mickey Mouse house has Netflix et al in its crosshair. In addition to undercutting competition, Disney has a rich library of evergreen content obtained through acquisitions or developed in-house over the years. Don’t forget that Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and 21st Century Fox.
Disney also owns the ESPN+ streaming service and thanks to its acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s former 21st Century Fox assets, it’s gained an additional 30 percent stake in Hulu.
Some bundling may be possible, Disney hinted.
Folks who subscribe to Disney+, ESPN+ or Hulu, or a mixture of these, may be eligible for some sort of a discount, but the company wouldn’t divulge any further details. The comprehensive direct-to-consumer strategy may put Disney at odds with Apple.
Apple, as you know, is launching its own video-streaming product, Apple TV+, this fall. In fact, it was suggested that Disney’s boss may lose his seat on Apple’s board due to potential conflict of interest. However, Bob Iger told Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman that he doesn’t view the Apple situation as very problematic, at least not in the near future.
Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg report:
Disney’s CEO suggested that he isn’t planning to step down from the Apple board despite the companies going head-to-head in streaming. Iger revealed that he was careful to recuse himself at Apple board meetings whenever the topic came up.
He added that streaming ‘has not been discussed all that much’ by the Apple directors, because it was relatively small and nascent.
‘So far it’s been OK,’ he said. ‘I’m in constant discussion about it. I am mindful of my fiduciary responsibility to Apple shareholders as a member of the board.’
Asked in today’s interview with CNBC’s David Faber whether he can stay on Apple’s board, Iger responded by saying that Disney will “continue to monitor” the situation.
Read Iger’s response to Faber’s question on Apple rivalry:
Well, obviously, when you sit on the board of a publicly traded company, you have to be very mindful or your responsibilities, fiscal responsibilities to the shareholders of that company, and I have been.
When the business of direct-to-consumer or television or movies is discussed on the Apple board, I recuse myself from those discussions.
There aren’t many of them. It’s still very small business to Apple. And I’m not at the point where I, you know, I believe it’s problematic, but it’s something that I have to continue to monitor.
The situation will escalate, make no mistake about it.
Google’s Eric Schmidt is a great example of that. He used to be on Apple’s board for three years before being forced to resign over increasing rivalry between Google and Apple. Following his resignation from the board, Jobs said Schmidt’s effectiveness was “diminished” because he had to “recuse himself from an ever larger portions” of meetings.
Disney and Apple have shared a board connection dating back to Disney’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar, the animated studio led by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in January 2006, turning Jobs into Disney’s biggest individual shareholder and earning him a seat on the board.
Following Jobs’s passing in 2011, Tim Cook invited Iger to join the board.
Learn more about Disney+ and register for updates at preview.disneyplus.com.
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