Star Wars, Marvel, and many titles from the Disney vault to be featured
The potential shape of Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming service is beginning to come into focus. The service, which is scheduled to debut in 2019, will feature new programming, access to Disney’s library of family friendly TV shows and movies (soon to be expanded with Fox brands), and more recent productions (although there are some rights issues to be dealt with). Thanks to today’s 3rd quarter earnings call, we have a bit more information to share.
Live-action TV series already announced include the “Star Wars” series produced by Jon Favreau (director of “Iron Man” and “The Jungle Book”). The budget for that show is believed to be in the “Game of Thrones” realm.
The animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” revival has been given a shot on the new platform. The series will give the Clone Wars storyline the finish it deserved. More rumored shows include “High School Musical,” “The Muppets,” and more Marvel super hero shows.
Disney also has a couple live-action remakes in the pipeline that are expected to show up on the service. “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) and “The Sword in the Stone” (1963) remakes are both expected to make their debut on the streaming service.
Other properties expected to be on the service include:
3 Men and a Baby
Father of the Bride
Honey, I shrunk the Kids
The Parent Trap
Flora & Ulysses
The Paper Magician
Starting with its 2019 theatrical releases, Disney has all the rights to run them on its streaming service. This includes Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Frozen 2, Star Wars Episode IX and more. Rights to other properties will become available over time (with many Marvel Cinematic Universe movies moving from Netflix to the service next year). Disney is reportedly in heavy negotiations with Turner broadcasting for rights to all Star Wars movies up through “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”
Most of the non-family friendly movies, including those that come with the purchase of 21st Century Fox, would end up on Hulu. However, some Fox properties, like National Geographic will likely end up on the service, as will films from Fox animation and family movies like “Home Alone.”
As for pricing, Disney claims that not having as many movies as other streaming services, like say Netflix, is not a handicap because Disney can price its service lower to fit the smaller library. This implies as more movies and TV shows join the service, the price will go up.
Interestingly, Iger said that they’re also looking at potential bundles of the new streaming service, ESPN+, and Hulu.
Now all we need is a name. People around Hollywood are calling it DisneyFlix, but that’s not official. If Disney follows the formula it set up with ESPN, it will be Disney+. I’ve heard a few other names as well.
On today’s earning call Disney CEO Bob Iger said the streaming service would be the company’s biggest priority in 2019. At the same time he said the company feels it can take its time to get the rollout right (“walk before we can run”), so don’t expect too much news before Disney is ready to reveal it.
It wasn’t too many years ago when Disney said there was nothing to worry from companies like Netflix and that they’d continue to focus on their broadcast and cable deals. Now the trick for Disney is to make their homegrown streaming services appealing to their fans, and the general public, while still maintaining their current revenue levels from more traditional distribution. Can they make it work? Who knows, they’re certainly going to give it a try.