Disney’s long-expected streaming service, called Disney+, is now set to launch in the US in late 2019 and will feature content from Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic, and the Star Wars franchise according to a recent announcement made by the company. However, although no details have been provided with regard to pricing for the service – or for exactly where or on what devices it might be available – Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has provided a substantial amount of information about the content itself. To begin with, the new streaming service will mark the beginning of production on a brand new live-action Star Wars series centered around lead protagonist Cassian Andor from the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story film. Actor Diego Luna will be returning for the series and it will follow the events leading up to those that are portrayed in the movie. That’s just one of two Star Wars series to appear on the platform as well. Another live-action show will be premiering on the service is The Mandalorian, unveiled earlier this year, which follows the adventures of a Mandalorian gunfighter and is expected to see an appearance from perhaps the most famed Mandalorian of all, Boba Fett.
Moving beyond Star Wars, Mr. Iger indicates that a new series will be on tap that takes place in the elaborate and creative universe from the Monsters Inc. franchise as well as yet another that centers around the fictional world of High School Musical. Furthermore, there will also be a new Marvel series that points a lens on the life of Loki, of The Avengers’ fame and which will see Tom Hiddleston reprise the role. Meanwhile, there are undoubtedly dozens of other plans in the works or already in production that aren’t quite ready to be planted in the limelight just yet. Mr. Iger did not mention National Geographic, for example, although that company’s logo appears clearly on the new signup page for more information and notifications about Disney+.
Background: The first hint that Disney might be looking to more aggressively and directly compete in the media streaming industry, rather than simply licensing its own content out, came back in 2017. Netflix has continuously had financial problems almost since its inception and, at the time, digital streaming services themselves had just begun to really dominate the consumer market for media and entertainment. That’s not to say that Netflix was and is not a relevant platform or that streaming had not already been on an exponential rise overall. However, despite that partnering with Netflix provided Disney with access to an enormous audience through the former company’s platform, Disney ultimately decided to take the opportunities presented to announce an end to the deal that August.
Just a year later, the company went further to outline some preliminary information about its plans. As outlined above, those will chiefly center around the creation of new content from the company’s vast array of IP holdings. It isn’t unlikely that many of its most popular movies, cartoons, or television shows will make their way over as well since that will give viewers something to watch between releases and during production runs. Having said that, the company has also indicated that the quantity of content is not going to take precedence over quality. So that may not turn out to be the approach the company takes at all. It might choose to depend almost exclusively on original content created just for the new platform instead.
Impact: In the meantime, Disney is going to be entering headlong into the streaming business amidst a plethora of competitors. That likely explains the timeframes involved here since the company will need to be at its best when it finally does launch. Moreover, although speculative, it should mean that the platform will be available on just about every viewing platform that exists from smartphones via an Android app to more traditional television and web mediums.Disney+