Disney is stepping into the streaming ring against Netflix this year, and the company finally revealed the details of its upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus, during its investor day on Thursday.
Disney Plus will launch on November 12 this year. It will cost subscribers $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year ($5.83 per month) at launch. Unlike Hulu, it will not have an ad-supported option. Its original movies and TV shows will include Marvel, “Star Wars,” Pixar, and National Geographic content, and all content will be available to be downloaded for offline use.
For pricing comparison, Netflix recently rolled out its biggest price increase ever in the US. The streaming giant’s most basic plan increased from $8 to $9 this month, while its most popular plan rose from $11 to $13. An Amazon Prime Video subscription is $8.99 a month, and Hulu without ads is $11.99 a month ($5.99 with ads).
In the first year of Disney Plus, Disney is anticipating the service to include 25 original series and 10 movies and specials, along with more than 400 titles from the Disney library. By year five, Disney Plus is expected to add over 50 new original series yearly.
Disney is anticipating 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024 for Disney Plus, and it plans to spend $1 billion in the first year and $2 billion yearly by 2024 on original content. Disney expects to reach profitability on Disney Plus by 2024.
In a Sunday report, UBS analysts estimated the company could also lose $10 billion in licensing revenue between Disney and Fox, which Disney bought for $71 billion, if it stopped licensing to third parties. Disney ended a licensing deal with Netflix this year, and all of its theatrical releases, starting with “Captain Marvel,” will eventually land on Disney Plus.
Disney took ownership of Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu with the merger and now owns the majority of Hulu at 60%. It will also likely pursue complete ownership. Kevin Mayer, Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international chairman, said on Thursday that the company “will likely” bundle Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus at a discount.
Disney gave a look at some of the original TV shows and movies that will be on Disney Plus during the event on Thursday.
Disney confirmed that a Marvel “Falcon and Winter Soldier” series is in the works, along with “WandaVision,” starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as their Marvel Cinematic Universe roles Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively. A “What If?” series is also being made, which will focus on alternate realities of Marvel. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said that one of the episodes will be about Peggy Carter becoming a super soldier rather than Steve Rogers, thanks to a suit built by Howard Stark.
The full “Star Wars” saga will be available on Disney Plus at launch, including the original trilogy. It was previously reported that that the full “Star Wars” library might not be included because of a licensing deal with Turner Broadcasting, which held the TV rights.
Along with the classic movies, new live-action “Star Wars” original TV series are coming to Disney Plus. The first will be “The Mandalorian” from executive producer Jon Favreau, who directed “Iron Man” and the upcoming “Lion King” remake. Pedro Pascal is set to the play the title character. Another live-action series will be a spinoff of “Rogue One,” starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as the robot K-2SO.
Disney’s many classic animated films, previously kept in the “Disney Vault,” will be available at launch on Disney Plus.
Disney’s theatrical windows won’t be altered by Disney Plus. Disney Animation Studios CCO Jennifer Lee said that “Frozen 2” will be released to theaters in November, then home video, and then on Disney Plus. That means the movie will likely be available to stream at least seven months after hitting theaters.
In a surprise twist Thursday, Disney announced that the first 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” will be available at launch, and Disney Plus will be the exclusive streaming home for the show.
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Disney has let loose a flood of new information on its eagerly-awaited streaming service during an investor conference, giving us our first glimpse of what Disney+ will look like along with some other titillating specifics on new exclusives, series and functionality for the platform. For those familiar with Netflix, Disney+ will adopt a very similar...