Disney's much-discussed subscription streaming service is reportedly called Disney Play, and will be cost viewers less than the competing Netflix.
The new details are found in a Variety feature about efforts by Disney, and the rest of "Hollywood's old guard," to catch up to Netflix and its imitators. The House of Mouse's answer, of course, is its own branded streaming service, targeted to launch in 2019 with such heavy hitters as a live-action Star Wars series from Jon Favreau, some sort of Marvel show, and remakes of such animated classics as Lady and the Tramp and The Sword in the Stone.
That's in addition to a robust catalog of movies, both old and new: The article reaffirms that, beginning in 2019, Disney Play will be the streaming home for the studio's entire feature slate, including Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, Dumbo, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: Episode IX. That means Disney will lose out on the $300 million in revenues it now receives annually from Netflix for the streaming rights to its films.
With select Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and Disney properties as its primary selling point, Disney Play hopes to lure subscribers with a monthly fee that's lower than the $8 to $14 they now pay for Netflix. Disney CEO Bob Iger acknowledged that price reflects that Disney Play won't have the breadth of content that its chief competitor does. (Variety notes the entertainment conglomerate won't pull Disney- and Fox-owned properties from current licensing agreements in order to fuel the new service, as such a move would be costly and difficult.)
“We have the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game,” Iger said.
According to analyst Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research, Disney Play would need 40 million subscribers paying $6 a month for Disney to break even, a calculation that takes into account not only programming and marketing costs but also customer service, payment processing and the like.