Type of site
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California,|
|Parent||Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International|
(The Walt Disney Company)
|Launched||November 12, 2019|
Disney+ (pronounced "Disney plus") is an upcoming American over-the-top subscription video on-demand service owned and operated by the Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International division of The Walt Disney Company. It is set to launch in the United States on November 12, 2019. It will be focused on film and television content from Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television. Original films and television series based on new and existing properties are also planned, including content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox.
In August 2016, Disney acquired a minority stake in BAMTech (a spin-out of MLB Advanced Media's streaming technology business) for $1 billion, with an option to acquire a majority stake in the future. Following the purchase, ESPN announced plans for an "exploratory [over-the-top] project" based on its technology (ESPN+) to supplant its existing linear television services. On August 8, 2017, Disney invoked its option to acquire a controlling stake in BAMTech for $1.58 billion, increasing its stake to 75%. Alongside the acquisition, the company also announced plans for a second, Disney-branded direct-to-consumer service drawing from its entertainment content, which would launch after the company ends its existing distribution agreement with Netflix in 2019.
In December 2017, Disney announced its intent to acquire key entertainment assets from 21st Century Fox. The acquisition, intended to bolster Disney's content portfolio for its streaming products, closed on March 20, 2019.
In January 2018, it was reported that former Apple and Samsung executive Kevin Swint had been appointed as the senior vice president and general manager reporting to BAMTech CEO Michael Paull. In June 2018, longtime Disney studio marketing chief, Ricky Strauss, was named president of content and marketing, however reporting to chairman of Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International Kevin Mayer. In January 2019, Fox Television Group COO Joe Earley was named executive vice president of marketing and operations. In June 2019, Matt Brodlie was named as senior vice president of international content development.
On November 8, 2018, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the service would be named Disney+, and that the company was targeting a launch in late 2019. A September launch was reportedly planned, but on April 11, 2019, Disney announced that Disney+ would launch on November 12, 2019 in the US. Disney stated that it planned to roll the service out worldwide over the next two years, targeting Western Europe and Asia-Pacific countries by late 2019 and early 2020, and Eastern Europe and Latin America by the end of 2020. The timing of international launches is subject to the acquisition or expiration of existing streaming rights deals for Disney content. On August 6, 2019, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that it will offer a streaming bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and the ad-supported version of Hulu for $12.99 per month available at launch.
The service will be built around content from Disney's main entertainment studios, including Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox, and National Geographic. The service will operate alongside Hulu – which Disney gained a controlling stake in following the 20th Century Fox purchase. Bob Iger stated that Disney+ would be focused specifically on family-oriented entertainment (not carrying any R-rated content), and that Hulu would remain oriented towards general entertainment. Hulu will also host Disney+ as an add-on service. It is currently unknown if films (both theatrical and direct-to-video) from Disneytoon Studios will be available at the service's launch.
It is expected that Disney+ will have approximately 7,000 television episodes and 500 films, including content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Fox, and National Geographic. New releases from 20th Century Fox will not immediately be available on either Disney+ or Hulu, as Fox has an output deal with HBO until 2022. Captain Marvel will be the first theatrically-released Disney film to stream exclusively on Disney+. Bob Iger said that Disney+ will eventually host the entire Disney film library, including films currently in the "Disney Vault."[a] The service will also hold exclusive streaming rights to The Simpsons, with all thirty seasons of the series available on launch.
It was initially unclear whether the first six films of the Star Wars franchise would be available at the service's launch, as TBS held streaming rights through 2024 as part of its cable rights to the franchise, but on April 11, 2019, it was announced that the films would be available at launch along with The Force Awakens and Rogue One.[b]
Original scripted content
Original series based on Marvel properties and Star Wars are being produced, with the former including five new Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off series involving the characters of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Loki, Scarlet Witch and Vision, and a What If animated series, and the latter including The Mandalorian, a television series set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, a spin-off series focused on Cassian Andor from Rogue One, and a seventh season of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The service's initial original content goal was planned to include four to five original films and five television shows with budgets from $25–100 million. In January 2019, it was reported that Disney will spend up to $500 million in original content for the service. The Mandalorian alone is expected to cost $100 million.
In January 2019, Disney+ ordered Diary of a Female President from CBS Television Studios, its first series from an outside production company. A television series remake of the film High Fidelity was initially announced for Disney+, but in April 2019, it was revealed that the project had been shifted to Hulu.
In August 2019, Iger announced that 20th Century Fox films such as Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Cheaper by the Dozen will be "'reimagined' for 'a new generation'" exclusively for Disney+ by Fox Family.
Original non-fiction content
Disney also plans original non-fiction content for the service, aiming to "find the ethos of Disney in everyday stories, inspiring hope and sparking the curiosity of audiences of all ages". Some of these series will have ties to Disney properties, including behind-the-scenes documentary miniseries focusing on Disney studios (such as one following the production of Frozen II), the Disney-themed reality cooking competition Be Our Chef, Cinema Relics (a documentary series showcasing iconic costume and props from Disney films), Marvel's Hero Project (a series that will showcase "inspiring kids [that] have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness"), and a Leslie Iwerks-directed documentary series chronicling the history and work of Walt Disney Imagineering. National Geographic is also producing Magic of the Animal Kingdom (a docuseries following the animal caretakers of Disney's Animal Kingdom and Epcot's aquarium) and The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
Disney reached a two-year pact with the documentary studio Supper Club (Brian McGinn, David Gelb and Jason Sterman, producers of Netflix's Chef's Table) to produce content for the service, including the conservation-themed nature documentary series Earthkeepers, and a documentary series chronicling the cultural and societal impact of Marvel's characters. Other factual series planned include Encore! (a Kristen Bell-produced series that will reunite casts from high school musical productions to reprise their roles), (Re)Connect (a reality series produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos's Milojo Productions), Rogue Trip (a travel series featuring Bob Woodruff and his son Mack), and the reality competition Shop Class.
Disney announced plans for streaming via web browsers on PCs, as well as apps for digital media players (including Roku, and "likely" Apple TV according to Iger), smart TVs, video game consoles, and mobile platforms. Content will be streamed in resolutions up to 4K and with HDR when available.
- It has been reported (but not officially confirmed by Disney) that racially controversial content such as Song of the South and certain scenes from Dumbo would be excluded, as they generally have been on home video.
- The more recent Star Wars films The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Rise of Skywalker will follow at a later date.
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