Get all the deets on Disney’s streaming platform

Disney’s streaming service is set to disrupt the broadcasting world, so here’s everything we know about the upcoming platform.

Back in 2017, Disney announced its plans to launch its very own streaming service. The platform will host several new Disney series as well as exclusive Disney movies and all the Disney content that’s currently streaming elsewhere. The platform, set to compete with the likes of Netflix, is a smart move meant to deliver Disney content directly to consumers by cutting out the middleman (and earn Disney some additional cash in the process).

One of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney, is a diversified multinational conglomerate. It was founded back in 1923 and quickly established itself as a leader in the animation industry. As time went on, the company expanded and diversified, currently handling live-action film production, television and theme parks. Among the giant’s entertainment holdings you’ll find Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar.

Last year, anticipating the launch of the streaming service, Disney purchased a majority stake in digital media company BAMTech, which is responsible for building HBO’s US streaming platform HBO Now. With BAMTech’s input, Disney is planning to launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service this year called ESPN Plus, followed by the new direct-to-consumer Disney streaming service in 2019.

Why is Disney’s streaming service such a big deal?

It seems like everyone is launching a streaming platform these days, so why is Disney so special? First off, this new platform will become the exclusive home for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar from 2019 onwards. That includes highly-anticipated upcoming titles like Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and the live-action Lion King movie. Moreover, the service will feature a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.

But more importantly, Disney’s streaming service will also host content from Disney’s subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm. This means that the platform will also host all the Marvel and Stars Wars movies released so far, with upcoming releases exclusive to the platform. These are without a doubt some of the most important film franchises in the world, so it’s obvious that the Force will be strong with this new streaming service, especially since geekdom is responsible for a ridiculous amount of box office income.

Additionally, Disney's recent purchase of 21st Century Fox could mean even more content for the upcoming platform. One thing’s for sure: the future of television and movie viewing is online, and Disney is willing to pay big bucks to be part of the action.

As a result, Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning 2019. This means Disney titles will be on Netflix for a little while longer, so we suggest you start making your way through your to-watch list ASAP. The launch of the new Disney streaming service won’t affect Netflix Original shows like Jessica Jones or Daredevil, but you should catch up on titles like Moana and Doctor Strange sooner rather than later. The same goes for Foxtel Now subscribers. For now, it’s unclear when exactly Disney's content will be pulled from other streaming services, at least in Australia. But once Disney’s platform is available, that will become the only stop for all things Disney.

All in all, with competition within the streaming market getting fiercer, content will be the major differentiator for users looking to shell out some cash for entertainment purposes. And thanks to its family-friendly movies and TV shows, Disney’s platform will look appealing to all sorts of consumers, from Marvel fans to classic Disney enthusiasts.

When will the platform launch?

Streaming services aren’t easy to build, so we’re still a long way from streaming Disney content on the exclusive platform. The launch is scheduled for late 2019, probably sometime between September and the end of the year. Similar to Netflix, the service is set to launch in the US initially, with plans to expand to more international markets in the future. So we can expect it in Australia anywhere from the end of 2019 to sometime in 2020.

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What content will the platform host?

Besides the titles we’ve mentioned above, Disney is also planning to invest in original content for the streaming platform. This is in line with what competitors like Netflix and Amazon are already doing. To begin, the company will rely on established brands instead of exploring new avenues, but its focus might change as time goes by.

At the moment, according to Deadline, Disney is working on releasing four to five original movies and TV series during the first year of the service. The platform won’t host any R-rated flicks; instead, its main purpose will be to deliver family-friendly programming that fits the Disney brand.

On the movie front, Disney is looking to produce a slate of book adaptations. The list includes The Paper Magician by Charlie N Holmberg, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, the Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Bound for the streaming service is also Magic Camp with Adam Devine, Gillian Jacobs and Jeffrey Tambor, as well as Christmas movie Noelle starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader and Shirley MacLaine. Live action remakes of Three Men and a Baby, The Sword in the Stone and Lady and the Tramp will likely also premiere on the streaming service.

As for TV shows, Disney is working on developing a Monsters, Inc. series, a new High School Musical series, a live-action Marvel show and the first live-action Star Wars TV series. The latter is especially exciting since, so far, Lucasfilm has only used animated television series to expand the Star Wars universe. There’s no news about what the show will be about just yet, but Star Wars fans are undoubtedly already polishing their credit cards.

As far as budgets go, Deadline reports that these shows will cost between $25 million and $35 million for 10 episodes, but an exceptionally ambitious series could have a budget cap of $100 million for a 10-episode season. This is a good sign since Disney’s willingness to invest proves that the streaming platform won’t be a mere online version of The Disney Channel. Instead, it looks like Disney views the service as a viable home for smaller theatrical releases and a solid platform for original shows.

How much will the platform cost?

As one might expect, details about the upcoming platform aren’t set in stone. This includes pricing. However, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has hinted that the price will be lower than Netflix’s, at least on the US market. That’s mainly because Disney's service will have substantially less content at the beginning than Netflix currently does.

As a reference, Netflix currently costs US$10.99 per month. We estimate that Disney’s service could cost between US$5 per month and US$8 per month. Disney’s CEO also mentioned that prices will rise as the platform’s content library grows, which is to be expected.

On the same note, Disney currently has a streaming platform for the UK market, DisneyLife. It costs £4.99 per month, or a little under AUD$9. The service offers a one-week free trial and is packed full of Disney classics: films, TV series, books and music. It offers over 400 classic films and 4,000+ Disney TV episodes. The new streaming service will probably cost a bit more since it will offer more content.

Browse Foxtel Now's library of family movies and television for two weeks free from Foxtel Now

Foxtel Now is streaming family movies and television on-demand. Sign up for a free two-week trial.

View details

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