Disney+ will launch Nov. 12 in the US for $7 a month, or $70 a year if you get an annual subscription.
That compares with Netflix’s $13 monthly fee for its most popular plan in the US, which lets you stream to two different devices simultaneously in high definition.
Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine M. McCarthy hinted Disney Plus pricing may rise as the service advances, calling the $7-a-month level an initial price point. The company also said it was likely to bundle Disney Plus with Hulu and ESPN Plus, offering a discount if you subscribe to two or three of its streaming options.
This is an exciting time; it’s also a challenging time,” Chief Executive Bob Iger said Thursday. But deciding how to navigate this was not difficult for us, he said, explaining that Disney is focused on its ocean of premium content and distributing it in different ways.
The news came during the entertainment giant’s two-hour-plus event to unveil Disney Plus and explain its wider streaming strategy. The presentation included a laundry list of new and original show announcements, sneak peeks at high-profile exclusives like Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian — and even offered glimpses at Disney’s biggest movie release to come this year, including a scene from Avengers: Endgame.
After years of putting streaming in the back seat to protect its big-budget blockbusters and lucrative TV model, Disney has made streaming its top priority this year, even restructuring the company around it.
Disney Plus is the highest-profile example of traditional Hollywood going to extreme lengths to fortify against competition from digital powerhouses like Netflix, Amazon and soon Apple. Those deep-pocketed companies have been pouring money into their own TV shows and movies. Digital upstarts have fueled TV cord-cutting and, in Netflix’s case, tried to upend theatrical-release norms for movies all threats to the future survival of companies like Disney.
From Disney’s projections, however, Netflix won’t be under threat for years.
Disney predicted it would reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers by the end of its 2024 fiscal year Netflix already has swollen to nearly 140 million. And Disney predicted that its content spending would jump from $1 billion in its first year to $2 billion four years later.
Netflix, by comparison, will spend an estimated $12 billion on content this year.
But programming announcements were the star of the show on Thursday. Disney said it would release more than 25 original series and 10 new films, documentaries and specials in the first year of Disney Plus.
That includes some previously known titles, like its Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian and a Rogue One prequel with Diego Luna reprising his role of Cassian Andor; the Marvel Studios series Loki starring Tom Hiddleston; and a Pixar series Monsters at Work, returning to the world of Monsters Inc. after the events of the original film.
And Disney unleashed new information about rumored programs and unveiled previously unknown projects. It confirmed that its Loki series will be joined by other Marvel exclusives. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier live-action series stars Anthony Mackieand Sebastian Stan in their roles known from the Avengers franchise, and live-action WandaVision sees the return of Elizabeth Olsen to the role of Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany to The Vision character. And Marvel’s What If Will be the studio’s first animated series that will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and flip its script.
Also in animation, Disney will premiere a documentary series about the making of Frozen 2, called Into the Unknown. (And parents take note: The much-anticipated sequel to Frozen 2 will be available to stream on Disney Plus by the summer.) And Pixar will contribute Toy Story-based projects Forky Asks a Question and short film Lamp Life, featuring Bo Peep.
The event also served as a chance for Disney to flex its new access to Fox content, after it closed its $71.3 billion takeover of 21st Century Fox earlier this year.
An announcement that drew an audible reaction from the crowd gathered on Disney’s studio lot, Disney Plus announced that all 30 seasons of The Simpsons would be available on the service on day one. In the first year, Fox titles like The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride, and Malcolm in the Middle will join it.
And Disney is also including libraries of already released franchise content. All the Star Wars movies will be there, as will all of Pixar’s.
All told, Disney Plus will have more than 7,500 television episodes and 500 films.
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