Disney CEO Bob Iger's announcement follows the approved acquisition of Fox’s film and television library, which gives the media giant a wide range of material to release through the service. This will bolster their already deep library of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and other films. They also gained the rights to National Geographic through the Fox purchase.
At launch, the Disney streaming service may cost less than Netflix. Iger revealed the streaming service's cost will reflect its “lower volume” of content, which suggests it could be a cheaper alternative to Netflix.
Importantly, a number of licensing deals between Disney and other streaming services are set to end by the end of 2019, and Disney has no motivation to renew them. This likely means that any new Marvel or Star Wars properties will skip Netflix and end up on the Disney streaming service instead. However, there are some notable pieces that won’t appear on the service, at least at first; for instance, the original Star Wars films' distribution rights are licensed by other parties.
“The marketing will make clear that it’s not going to be on there,” said Iger. “But Star Wars movies that come out in 2019 and later, you’ll find them there.”
It’s expected that any R-rated films from the Fox library will instead appear in Hulu, which Disney acquired 60% control of with the Fox purchase.
Bob Iger says the Disney Streaming Service will go live in late 2019.