From a small cartoon company founded in 1923 by Roy and Walt Disney to a media conglomerate in 2019, the growth of The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has been nothing short of phenomenal.
After winning the $71.3-billion bid for 21st Century Fox assets beating Comcast in the process, Disney now has access to Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp, along with Fox Television Group, and Fox Networks Group International.
But the icing on the cake was Disney becoming the majority shareholder in Netflix (NFLX) rival Hulu. Adding the 30% stake Disney already had, with the 30% held by Fox, Disney got direct access to the streaming market.
While many an investor looks to what Disney would have done with its new assets, Disney launched its war for streaming supremacy with its latest offering — Disney+.
Later on Thursday, April 11, at the media giant’s highly anticipated Investor Day, Disney laid out its comprehensive direct-to-consumer strategy — including presentations on Hulu, Hotstar, ESPN+, and the upcoming Disney+ service.
The Disney+ service is scheduled to launch in the US market this year on November 12 at $6.99 per month, and would include offerings from iconic brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. The service would be available on connected TV and mobile devices.
“Disney+ marks a bold step forward in an exciting new era for our company—one in which consumers will have a direct connection to the incredible array of creative content that is The Walt Disney Company’s hallmark. We are confident that the combination of our unrivaled storytelling, beloved brands, iconic franchises, and cutting-edge technology will make Disney+ a standout in the marketplace, and deliver significant value for consumers and shareholders alike,” CEO Bob Iger said.
In its first year, Disney+ is expected to release over 25 original series and ten original films, documentaries and specials. New original titles for Disney+ announced today include, among others, the following:
1. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Marvel Studios) — a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier from the Avengers movie franchise.
2. WandaVision (Marvel Studios) — a live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision from the Avengers movie franchise.
3. Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 (Walt Disney Animation Studios) — a documentary series on the making of the highly anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios feature, Frozen 2.
4. The World According to Jeff Goldblum (National Geographic) — a documentary series with actor Jeff Goldblum as host,
5. The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title) (Disney Television Animation)
… and previously announced originals such as the live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian; an exclusive new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars; High School Musical: The Musical: The Series; and many other.
Disney+ also announced that all 30 seasons of The Simpsons would be available on the service on day one.
“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International at Disney.