Disney revealed the details of its Netflix rival, Disney Plus, including price and release date
- Disney revealed key details about its upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus, on Thursday.
- Disney Plus will launch on November 12 and cost $6.99 a month.
- Disney "will likely" bundle the service with Hulu and ESPN+ at a discount, Disney direct-to-consumer and international chairman Kevin Mayer said.
- Disney confirmed previously unannounced Marvel series are in the works, including "Falcon and Winter Soldier."
- The entire "Star Wars" collection will be available, including the original trilogy. Previous reports indicated that this may not happen due to licensing agreements.
Disney is stepping into the streaming ring against Netflix this year, and the company has finally revealed more details about its upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus, during its investor day on Thursday.
Disney Plus will launch in the 2020 first quarter in the US, so will launch between October and December this year. And it will cost subscribers $6.99 a month and $69.99 a year at launch. Unlike Hulu, it will not have an ad-supported option. Content will be able to be downloaded for offline use.
For 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.
Heading into Thursday, Wall Street wanted to see Disney address several key questions about Disney Plus. In a report released on Sunday from UBS analysts, the biggest questions included subscriber growth, content spending, and how Hulu will fit into Disney's streaming plans.
UBS analysts estimated that Disney would spend $800 million on original content for Disney Plus this year. Disney is already developing "Star Wars" and Marvel shows for the service, including the previously announced "Rogue One" spin-off and a Marvel series starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki (read all the scripted content that's in the works here).
Disney also confirmed on Thursday that a Marvel "Falcon and Winter Soldier" series is in the works, as well as "WandaVision," starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as their Marvel Cinematic Universe roles Scarlet Witch and Vision. A Marvel "What If?" series is also in the works, focusing on alternate-reality series. 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.
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.
The full "Star Wars" saga will be available on the service at launch, including the original trilogy. It was previously reported that that the full "Star Wars" library may not be included, due to a licensing deal with Turner Broadcasting, which held the TV rights.
The first 30 seasons of "The Simpsons" will be available at launch, and Disney Plus will be the exclusive streaming home for the show.
In the Sunday report, UBS analysts estimated the company would also lose $10 billion in licensing revenue between Disney and Fox, which Disney bought for $71 billion last year and the deal closed last month. For starters, 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. Disney now owns the majority of Hulu at 60%, and will likely pursue complete ownership. Disney direct-to-consumer and international chairman Kevin Mayer said on Thursday that the company "will likely" bundle Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ at a discount.
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