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Disney’s race to beat Netflix with new direct-to-consumer streaming service

Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has said that the Walt Disney Company’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service will be “the biggest priority of the company during calendar 2019.” As entertainment companies continue to consolidate, the race is on to get into the homes and onto the phones of consumers with all the content produced and acquired by the mega-companies. Variety has a nice long article on the battle Disney, Comcast, and AT&T face catching up with Netflix for the consumer entertainment dollar.

Disney is considered to be the lead challenger, in part because the Mouse House is already an investor in Hulu, one of Netflix’s primary competitors in the Over the Top (OTT) space. OTT viewing of ‘television’ is projected to grow to 20-30% of the overall market in the next 5 years. Making it a valuable space for Disney to move into and they’ve already spent beaucoup bucks buying companies to help them get there.

Disney has also announced a second Netflix competitor that will be more ‘on-brand;’ hosting original movies and tv series, along with access to classic items from the Disney vault, and more recent series like cinematic Star Wars and Marvel, starting with those released in 2018. This as-yet unnamed service is expected to arrive late 2019.

What the network won’t have is some of its legacy content that is still under contract with other platforms. Those old Star Wars films, Marvel films, and the Marvel TV shows on Netflix. It might be awhile before the rights for streaming return to Disney.

“We have the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game,” Iger said to Variety.

Iger has made clear Disney plans to walk before it runs as it relates to the volume of content. As the amount of content is expected to be less than what’s on Netflix, the price of the new streaming service will be priced accordingly lower. Netflix ranges from $8 to $14, so expect something even lower than that.

There was a report today that the name of this service would be “Disney Play,” but that was debunked by Disney. There’s already a “Disney Parks Play” app, so I don’t see them using such a similar name, but who knows.

If you want a deep dive into the state of the race to beat Netflix then be sure to check out the whole article.

Previously: What content we can expect to find on Disney’s new streaming service.