Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, announced the name of a new service, Disney+, during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Nov. 8, indicating that the dominant global conglomerate will be taking on the challenge of direct-to-consumer streaming.
Upon the service’s debut in late 2019, all Disney content and Pixar titles currently housed on Netflix will no longer be offered on the streaming giant’s platform. Disney+ will feature original programming, new shows and movies, new content for the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, a High School Musical series and much more.
The streaming service industry has been dominating the internet for years, with Amazon, Hulu and, most notably, Netflix at the forefront. Creation of new streaming platforms is nothing new for this growing market, but it is relatively new territory for Disney, which has already had streaming of its TV content available for those with cable TV packages. Additionally, the company’s recent purchase of 21st Century Fox for $71.3 billion in stocks and bonds will give its library a big boost and a competitive edge in content.
Disney’s acquisition and integration of Fox not only made the company the majority shareholder of Fox’s assets and increased its media library content, but after the deal finalizes, Disney will have a major stake in Hulu. Iger’s plans for Hulu are to focus on “both global growth and investing more in content,” as he said in the Nov. 8 earnings call. Disney will control three prominent streaming platforms: Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, which launched in 2018 with a quick growth spurt, reaching about 1 million paid subscribers in five months. These services combined could lead the company to take a very competitive stance against Netflix in streaming to consumers.
In 2017, Iger stated to CNBC that Disney’s relationship with Netflix was on good, but the true nature of this relationship will be tested in the coming months. Signs of success were briefly shown after the earnings call, with Disney showing a 1.9 percent gain in after-hours trades, following the revelation that Disney’s earnings were greater than expected on Wall Street.
In addition to the purchase of Fox, Disney bought a majority ownership of 33 percent of BAM Tech, a leader among streaming tech companies, an acquisition that should give Disney an additional edge in the fuel they need to power their streaming platforms. Disney may carve a name for themselves in the media world yet again, but this time, through all things streaming.