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Published on November 9th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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BATV Exclusive: Disney+ streaming service to launch with Apple TV app and full TV app support

The Walt Disney Company will launch its direct-to-consumer streaming entertainment service, Disney+, in late 2019 with a standalone Apple TV app, multiple sources have confirmed to BESTApple TV.

Sources report the app will be available on Apple TV shortly before launch, will tie directly into the TV app to find and link to content, and will allow consumers to subscribe to the service through their Apple ID for billing purposes.

“Disney will be aggressive from the outset in offering its services on various platforms,” said one source close to the company’s internal plans. “Being on the Apple platform is crucial.”

Sources report that with Apple launching its own video service next year with a strategy focused on “family friendly”, exclusively-produced content, launching on Apple TV is “an essential part of the strategy.”

Sources close to Disney asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons.

Chief Executive Bob Iger unveiled new details about the upcoming Netflix rival during the company’s earnings call Thursday evening. He said the service will be “very elegant and very brand-centric, and add navigational features that don’t exist on other platforms,” noting that he had recently visited the company’s BamTech subsidiary, which is developing Disney+’s technology, and found it “impressive.”

Iger described at least five content channels on Disney+: Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic, the last of which will become part of Disney after the close of the Fox acquisition.

He also announced new Marvel and Star Wars content will be coming to the streaming service, including a series about the Marvel fan favorite Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston, and a prequel series to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, starring Diego Luna.

Also on the content slate, a reboot of the High School Musical franchise, the next season of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and an animated series based on Pixar’s Monsters Inc. Original movies coming to Disney+ include Noel, starring Anna Kendrick, and Togo, starring Willem Dafoe.

Iger also confirmed that talks are underway to secure back rights on existing library deals for Disney-owned titles. Potentially among those is Twentieth Century Fox’s output deal with HBO, which is supposed to run until 2022 but includes movies Disney would like to be able to offer sooner on its own service. Disney had previously announced that it would pull movies from Netflix.

“Direct-to-consumer continues one of our top priorities,” Iger said on the earnings call.

Iger also discussed Hulu, another streaming service available on Apple TV, saying it would feature more “general entertainment programming” while the more family-friendly fare would be on Disney+. 

Disney will own 60 percent of Hulu after its acquisition of Fox assets are finalized, with Comcast Corp. owning the other 30 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Iger hinted there could be some pricing changes coming to Hulu’s future. “There’s an opportunity to improve or increase our pricing,” he said during the call.

It is not clear what Disney plans on charging for the Disney+ streaming service, but last year, Iger said that it would be priced “substantially less than” Netflix. Netflix costs $7.99 a month for a basic SD account on one device, $10.99 a month for HD streaming on two devices, and $13.99 a month for viewing on four devices in HD and Ultra HD.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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