Entertainment industry juggernauts Disney are set to enter the online streaming market in 2019.
This is big news, as it means that there will be a another player in the battle for streaming supremacy currently headed up by Netflix and Amazon. Plus, it means we’ll be getting a LOT more from the Mickey Mouse corp and its subsidiaries Marvel and LucasFilms. They’ve already announced a new Jon Favreau-produced Star Wars series and a Tom Hiddleston-fronted Marvel show, and that appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Find out everything you need to know about the upcoming streaming service below.
What is Disney+?
A major new streaming service owned by The Walt Disney Company which will feature a host of new and past TV series and films from Disney and its subsidiaries.
When will Disney+ launch?
The service is set to launch in the USA in September 2019. There is no known date for the UK launch.
How much will Disney+ cost?
Disney has yet to announce how much a subscription to Disney+ will cost. However, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly told investors that the plan is to charge users “substantially” less than Netflix.
What new shows and movies have been announced?
The major confirmed releases are The Mandalorian, a new Star Wars series set in the outer reaches of the galaxy between episodes VI and VII, and a Marvel show based on Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.
There is also set to be a Rogue One prequel series, based around Diego Luna’s character Cassian Andor from the Star Wars spin-off film. Variety reports that there are plans for shows based around The Avengers’ Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and one based around Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie).
On top of this, Iger has confirmed that a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp (with real dogs!) will launch exclusively on the service, along with other new, as-yet-unconfirmed Disney movies.
Which other TV shows and films will be in the Disney+ library?
Initially, it is expected that Disney+ will be focused on movies and TV series from Walt Disney Studios (those directly produced by Disney, including Marvel films from 2010 onwards, and the new Star Wars trilogy). However, this is expected to expand greatly.
Disney owns Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, The Muppets Studio and US network ABC. On top of this, they’re expected to close on a deal to take over Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. This would mean the likes of Avatar (and its upcoming sequels), Titanic, the Planet of the Apes reboot series and TV series like Homeland, Modern Family, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and 24 – meaning they could all come into play on the streaming service.
Add that to all of the Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar properties, and you’ve got yourself a fairly stacked and impressive catalogue.
Of course, it is unclear which of these shows and movies are already tied down to deals with other streaming services, or how Disney will seek to distribute them, but we could see them all become available on Disney+ at one point or another.
Will it be available in the UK?
Disney already have an active subscription service in the UK, called DisneyLife. A £4.99 subscription grants access to a catalogue of 450+ Disney movies (including all the original versions of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and so on).
There is no word on whether Disney+ will replace DisneyLife in the UK when it eventually launches, or if it will even launch at all – though, if Disney are serious about competing with Netflix on a global basis, they’re not likely to leave the UK market out of the equation.
Why has Disney entered the streaming game at this point in time?
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently told Barron’s that the company had to act when they saw the tides turning in the entertainment industry, with relation to online streaming. “It became very clear that what we were observing was real, sustainable,” he said. “Sweeping, permanent, profound transformation.”
“What I posed to my senior team and ultimately to the board was, ‘We can’t sit back and let this happen.’ I can imagine other companies in other industries in similar positions in the past 50 years,” He said. “Eastman Kodak (KODAK) watching the advent of digital photography probably comes to mind the most.”
How will this affect Disney’s film release strategy?
The major Disney film releases will still hit theatres as the first port of call. “Our studio makes between eight and 10 movies a year, and they’re big budget, hopefully big box-office films, that really belong, we believe, on the big screen,” Iger says.
He adds that any films produced for the streaming service will be low-mid-level budget. “Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we’re not looking to make movies at that level for the service,” he said.
But, the likes of Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: Episode IX will eventually end up on there.
What does this mean for Netflix’s Marvel shows?
The launch of the service will coincide with the expiration of a deal between Marvel and Netflix.
We’ve seen a culling of Netflix’s Marvel TV series in recent months, which may be related to Disney’s own streaming agenda. Iron Fist, Daredevil and Luke Cage have all been cancelled, with the future of Jessica Jones and The Punisher currently unknown (beyond the already slated third season of Jessica Jones, and the imminent second season of The Punisher).
How do I sign up for Disney+?
Disney+ is not up-and-running as yet, but you can sign up for updates on the service here.