Published on August 8th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson0
Disney gives a glimmer of details for its new streaming service
As Walt Disney Studios prepares to introduce its own online subscription service, details are beginning to trickle out on the very basics of a service that’s quickly coming together and is expected to launch late next year.
In a third-quarter earnings conference call Tuesday, company executives revealed the new Disney streaming service will launch in “about…a year” but before “the end of calendar 2019,” according to CEO Robert Iger.
“Consumers are picking and choosing from all of the options in the market,” said Iger. “We continue to move full steam ahead on our direct-to-consumer strategy.
We don’t see the need to rush (to launch) because the market will pass us by, simply because the only place people are going to be able to get Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars original product is going to be on this app,” he said. “And so, we believe whenever we launch, it will be attractive.”
Iger said the company is reorganizing itself to merge the various pieces of 21st Century Fox which it now owns after a protracted buyout earlier this year. Together with content from Hulu, which Disney will become a majority owner in if the Fox deal closes, the company will have a large library of content to use on the network although it will not be as big as that of its largest rival, Netflix.
Iger believes a bigger library of content is not always mean better. The Disney service “does not to have to have close to the volume of what Netflix has because of the value of the brands,” he said. “we don’t have to be in the absolute volume game. We have to put enough on to make sense from a price to value relationship perspective.”
Iger refused to get locked down into a specific price for the new service, but reiterated numerous times that “the price that we’re charging (will reflect) the value that we’re delivering.” Those comments alone are leading some industry watchers to assume the service will cost less than Netflix per month and possibly as cheap as $5 a month.
Iger said Disney is planning on making new original shows based on Disney properties like Monsters Inc. and High School Musical. A number of Star Wars dramas are also in the works. Iger said Star Wars movies released before next year will not be on the new service as they previously had been licensed to various other streaming entities like Netflix. These contracts will need to end before they can appear on the new Disney streaming service.
With it now owning Hulu, starting a new Disney streaming channel, and already owning and running the subscription sports service ESPN+, Iger said while the three services will be sold independently, there is a chance they could be bundled together.
“If a consumer wants all three, ultimately, we see an opportunity to package them from a pricing perspective,” Iger commented. “But it could be that a consumer just wants sports or just wants family or just wants the Hulu offering, and we want to be able to offer that kind of flexibility to consumers.”
Saying the new streaming service will focus on the “core Disney fan” with family-friendly content, it remains to be seen what content from Disney’s other networks like Fox, Hulu and National Geographic will end up on the new network. According to Ricky Strauss, who is overseeing the new Disney venture, figuring out what content will go where is still being decided.