UPDATE (11/08/18): In this week’s Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call to Investors, Disney CEO Robert Iger announced that the Disney Play streaming service would be renamed Disney+.
Calling Disney’s new streaming service the main priority for the company in 2019 (along with their Fox Merger), Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger has dubbed the new service “DISNEY +,” and plans to aim squarely at being a major player that competes with Netflix. But while it’s a poorly kept secret that the Mouse House wants to rule the market share for cord cutters, he insists that they aren’t in a hurry to get there.
“Our first priority is going to be reaching our core Disney fan,” Iger said, “we’re going to walk before we run as it relates to the volume of content.”
The first thing you will notice is that gone is the so-called trio of separate streaming services, one for Disney proper, one for Star Wars and one for Marvel. Now, it looks like Disney will have a single streaming service. Iger told analysts that Disney enjoys “the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game.” This leads me to wonder if , like Netflix and Amazon, there will be additional streaming channels cord cutters can add for an additional fee. Just a speculation on my part, but there’s plenty of content available there.
So while we may not see it right away, it could be that Disney+ will have a basic Disney service with family themed entertainment, and then for an additional fee, users can add a Star Wars channel, and a Marvel Channel. But Iger has stated that Marvel films like “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers 4” will be part of the initial service, so Disney may just opt for a single streaming service with no special channels. I hope that’s the case.
Fox products, look to be not included at this point, and it could be that with the exception of incorporating Marvel Fox titles into the MCU, and Episode IV: A New Hope back into the Star Wars distribution arm, that Fox products will end up at Hulu.
Moreover, according to reports that AntMan and the Wasp will be the last movie streaming on Netflix before the Disney+ Service launches, there is a deal in place with cable giant TBS that will preclude any Star Wars feature before 2019 from debuting on the Disney+ service until at least 2024. “The marketing will make clear that it’s not going to be on there,” said Iger. “But ‘Star Wars’ movies that come out in 2019 and later, you’ll find them there.”
This will give Disney’s original Star Wars programming some time to breathe and develop as it will have the focus of fans who subscribe to the service. In addition to Disney’s new Star Wars Resistance animated series and the return of the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars both debuting on Disney+, the Mouse House is developing several Star Wars series, including one from producer-director Jon Favreau, called The Mandalorian, a Star Wars series that many believe will be about the Mandlorians. The a live-action, 10-episode saga will cost roughly $100 million, which means that Disney is planning some serious cinematic production values with their original content. There will also be a second live action series on the adventures of Rebellion Spy Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna reprising the role from Rogue One.
Iger also said that Disney+ will be more affordable than Netflix, with a monthly subscription fee of between $8-$14, which is better than the $6 fee that analysts were speculating on, based on a minimum subscriber base of 40 million to just break even. But let’s face it, if Disney only gets 40 million at the very beginning, they’ll likely consider the launch of Disney+ a failure.
Hat Tip – Variety