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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Disney Announces Streaming Strategy: Disney+ Priced at $6.99 Per Month

by Ray Keating
April 11, 2019

The Walt Disney Company went three-for-three today on content, pricing and timing in its announcement regarding the Disney+ streaming service. The big news was that Disney+ streaming will launch in the U.S. on November 12, 2019, at a price of $6.99 per month.

Bob Iger, Disney chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We are confident that the combination of our unrivaled storytelling, beloved brands, iconic franchises, and cutting-edge technology will make Disney+ a standout in the marketplace, and deliver significant value for consumers and shareholders alike.”

The company announced that Disney+ will launch with “a robust library of theatrical and television content.” That will include “more than 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials by some of the industry’s most prolific and creative storytellers.”

Among the original content highlighted by Disney were:

  • “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier”
  • “WandaVision, a live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision”
  • “Marvel’s What If…?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios and takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.”
  • “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, a documentary series showing the hard work and imagination that go into making one of the most highly anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios features of all time”
  • “Toy Story-based projects Forky Asks a Question, an animated short series, and the short film Lamp Life”
  • Magic of the Animal Kingdom, a documentary series which takes viewers behind the scenes with the highly respected animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium”
  • The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title), an animated film featuring many of the original voice cast.”

These come on top of other already-announced new series, such as the live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian; a new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars;  a Cassian Andor series starring Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk; Marvel’s Loki  series starring Tom Hiddleston; and Monsters at Work.

What else? Well, consider that Disney also highlighted that Disney+ will offer “all 30 seasons of The Simpsons ... on day one,” and during first year, “audiences will also have access to family-friendly Fox titles like The Sound of MusicThe Princess Bride and Malcolm in the Middle as part of an impressive collection of more than 7,500 television episodes and 500 films including blockbuster hits from 2019 and beyond.”

The combination of a massive and growing content library of high-profile movie and television titles, rolling out new and potentially high-appeal titles, and a price well below the Netflix standard plan ($12.99 per month) point to an impressive opening for the Disney+ service. And it’ll be available just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Consumer and investor expectations should run high.

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels, with three books - Reagan Country: A Pastor Stephen Grant NovelHeroes and Villains: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and Shifting Sands: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story – published in 2018. In addition, the second edition of Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel was published in January 2019. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

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