Disney takes on Netflix with streaming service

Apr 12, 2019 | Video

Disney has revealed its much anticipated streaming service including every Pixar film ever released, all the Star Wars films and every episode of the Simpsons.

Disney+ will feature 8,000 film and TV episodes as it unveiled details of the product at its California headquarters.

The ad-free subscription service, revealed at an event to Wall Street analysts on Thursday, gave industry experts a first-look at the entertainment company’s offering to rival Silicon Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple, which is set to launch its own TV + streaming service later this year.

“The app will in all likelihood be available through traditional app distributors, Apple being one of them,” said Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger.

He added that he was “fairly certain” that if people wanted to subscribe to the app they would be “able to do so through Apple and the iTunes store”.

Subscribers will be able to sign up through streaming player Roku and PlayStation, but Iger refrained from naming other platforms that the service could be available on as Disney hasn’t “made deals with all of them yet”.

The cost is low at just $6.99 a month at its launch in the US in November. An international launch for the service is in the works but a date is yet to be attached to the plans.

Disney plans to make 7,500 episodes and 500 films available in the first year of Disney +.

It is also thought content from other parts of the Disney empire – such as existing streaming service Hulu and National Geographic – will also be merged on to the new product.

As well as established films and TV shows, new movies and series will be released exclusively to the platform, including a live action Star Wars series, and a series about Marvel character Loki.

A live action version of Lady and the Tramp, a new Phineas and Ferb movie and a High School Musical reboot were also revealed.

Dallas Lawrence, Chief Communications and Brand Officer at OpenX, commented: “If content is indeed king, Disney owns the castle. There is a lot of user preference data out there which shows that the double hit of Apple TV+ – which will be about distribution – and Disney Plus – which will be a content machine – signals turbulent waters ahead for Netflix.”

‘Another player rather than stealing the march from rivals’

Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom UK, said: “Disney is entering a very crowded market, one that has largely unrivalled leaders in Netflix, Sky’s NowTV and Amazon Prime Video, and has recently been impacted by the announcements of Apple TV and BritBox in the UK. Disney+ has been coming for a while and is an arguably overdue move for a powerhouse that has built a legacy on film and TV. That’s why I don’t doubt that Disney+ will make a mark – not only does it have that brand name but it has a wealth of content to entice subscribers. However, that alone isn’t enough to guarantee success and it will be interesting to see if Bob Iger’s vision of a “one stop shop” for all our entertainment needs becomes a reality.

“The leading names in streaming have led the market because they offer access to a huge range of content from a huge range of studios. For example, Now TV lets you watch HBO’s drama Big Little Lies before switching to Sky Original sci-fi Westworld, and onto the ABC comedy Modern Family. Netflix and Amazon have the same model – a varied array of content from an array of production companies. The vast majority of Disney+ will be Disney content – whether that’s Marvel to Pixar and Disney Classics, most content will have the Disney stamp on it and there is undoubtedly a certain formula to that. I believe that content will appeal to many. But will it take subscribers from elsewhere? I’m not so sure. I can see Disney becoming a key name in streaming, but it will be alongside the other leaders rather than stealing a march on them.”

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