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Disney announces details of its streaming ambitions

12 Apr 2019  |  David Pidgeon 
Disney announces details of its streaming ambitions

Disney announced this week its new streaming service would cost just $7 a month or $70 annually as it goes head-to-head with the likes of Netflix.

The service, Disney+, will showcase new and classic TV shows and films and will launch in the US in November. The service, which will be ad-free, will feature programming from the Marvel superhero franchise, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic and every episode of the Simpsons.

“What we are putting forward is an aggressive strategy,” Disney chief executive Bob Iger told analysts on Thursday. “We’ve got to be very serious and all in on it.”

The pricing is a little lower than what most analysts predicted, and is much lower than Netflix’s standard $12.99 plan in the US.

Disney, which will need to claw back the content deals it has made with rival streaming services, has also set a target of securing between 60 million to 90 million subscribers and achieving profitability in fiscal year 2024.

Due to the high number of content deals Disney made globally, the roll-out of the service will vary region to region. However, to help get the service in as many homes as possible, Disney has struck a deal with Roku and Sony to help distribute the service.

Disney will be joining an increasingly crowded streaming market, only set to grow more competitive following Apple's recent announcement of the launch of Apple TV.

“The Disney brand is known and respected in every home across the world," said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. "Disney will deliver a reasonably-priced, attractive platform that has plenty of appealing content.”

The US will remain the largest market by some distance, adding an average of 5 million subscribers a year to take its total to 25 million by 2024, Murray said.

Some way behind, the UK will provide 5.5 million subscribers, followed by Brazil and Canada. These four countries will account for half the total subscribers.

“Similar to Netflix, Disney+ is not expected to launch as a standalone platform in China," Murray said. "Its impact is also expected to be limited in other large markets such as Russia and India.”

Digital TV Research forecasts 75 million subscribers for Disney+ by 2024. As a point of comparison, Netflix is forecast to have 200 million subscribers by 2024.

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