New information on Disney Plus: release date, subscription prices and content
This autumn, Disney will join streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Google Play. Until recently, not much was known about the project aside from its name. This all changed yesterday at an investor day at Buena Vista Studios in California. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, referred to «Disney Plus» as the company’s biggest priority for the year. He finally revealed some new information.
Disney Plus will launch in the USA on 12/11/2019. Further regions will follow in the next two years. An exact release date for Europe or Switzerland isn’t known yet. According to their targets, this won’t be far off: Disney Plus is expected to amass about 60-90 million subscribers until the end of 2024 – two thirds of them from outside the USA. To put this into perspective: Netflix currently has about 150 million world-wide subscribers.
The service will cost 69.99 dollars a year or 6.99 dollars a month. This makes Disney Plus significantly cheaper than its competitors. Additionally, no expensive second subscription is required to unlock UHD resolution. It’s currently unknown on how many devices concurrent streaming will be available. However, any content will be downloadable and viewable offline.
Aside from original family-friendly content, Disney Plus will offer brands such as Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic. Disney is planning to invest around 1-2 billion dollars in exclusively produced content by the end of 2020. Netflix will beat this by a long shot: about 15 billion dollars will be spent by the titan until the end of 2019.
From Marvel through Star Wars to every Disney classic
The highlight of many Disney fans: All classics the Walt Disney Corp. has been storing in their bunker will be available on the streaming platform. Until now, classics such as 1920’s hit «Snow White and the seven Dwarfs» or the 1991 Oscar nominated «Beauty and the Beast» were only open for purchase every few years for a limited time on DVD or Blu-Ray. Then Disney would seal them in their bunker again.
Disney Plus will also offer any content related to Marvel, Star Wars or any other big Disney-owned brands. On to of that, Disney is planning to produce exclusive content, only viewable on their platform. An example would be the live-action series «The Mandalorian», which is set five years after the events of «Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi».
In it, actor Pedro Pascal plays the titular Mandalorian headhunter, saving the life of a child he was supposed to kill. The series will spend eight episodes with these characters, growing their relationship similar to «Leon the Professional». Not much more is known currently.
Aside from that, a live-action series about Cassian Andor is in the works. The character who appeared in «Rogue One» will be performed by actor Diego Luna. Every Star Wars movie to date will also be open for streaming on the platform.
The Marvel cinematic universe will receive live-action series dedicated to Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). All Marvel movies to be released this year and going forward will be available on Disney Plus, starting with «Captain Marvel». Older superhero epics will follow as soon as the 2019 Netflix deal runs its course.
Aside from classic, Star Wars and Marvel content, Disney will also release CGI movies and series by their affiliate company Pixar. For example, a «Monsters Inc.» spin-off series starring John Goodman and Billy Crystal reprising their roles will be produced. Reality shows and documentaries also won’t go amiss. «Marvel’s 616», a documentary on the true story, characters and creators of the Marvel universe is in the works, as well as a cooking program named «Be Our Guest».
Disney’s streaming service isn’t the only thing launching this autumn: A few weeks ago, Apple announced a cooperation with Hollywood greats such as Steven Spielberg and J. J. Abrams in order to produce content for their own streaming platform. Their prices are still unknown. Now that Disney set the bar at 6.99 dollars a month, Apple’s price structure will be severely compromised.
I’m expecting Disney Plus to be an initial success. The pull of Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic nearly guarantees this. Even more if exclusive content such as «The Mandalorian» will be available from the start. Challenging the streaming giant Netflix, however, will still be a hefty task. There’s a good chance this isn’t even the goal of most Disney executives.
Back in 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger already announced Disney Plus’ significantly lower price point, due to a smaller range of content. Disney probably sees their streaming platform more as an added bonus than a Netflix killer.
Customers will still have to be wary with their subscriptions. Aside from Disney Plus and Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple’s services still exist. Disney also controls Hulu and ESPN Plus, mostly used for sports content à la DAZN.
Now that 21st Century Fox has been consumed by the big mouse, Hulu is definitely part of Disney. They will offer more adult-oriented content, not suited towards Disney’s family-friendly direction. Three separate subscriptions are required for these services, even if Kevin Meyer, chairman of the direct and international division, didn’t exclude a package deal at a lower price.
Speaking of which: the Simpsons will be broadcast on Disney Plus from now on. And Maggie will become Tinkerbell.