Thanks to the company's talkative CEO, we have a good idea about when it will launch, how much it will cost, and what types of shows and films it might stream. For instance, we already know it green-lit a live-action Star Wars TV show and that it won't air any R-rated content. It will also have original series and should be much cheaper than Netflix. Is your interest piqued? Well, then, continuing reading.
What's the story so far?
Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, revealed in September 2017 that Disney has been developing a standalone streaming service to directly compete with Netflix. As a result, Disney's extensive library of content, including Marvel and Star Wars titles, will be pulled from Netflix starting in 2019. Disney originally announced its intention to withdraw content from Netflix during an earnings report in early August.
Taking control of streaming is a "big strategic shift" for Disney, Iger explained. He said the new service will be separate from the ESPN service it is currently developing and that ESPN content won't be accessible on it whatsoever. Instead, you'll need to subscribe to the upcoming ESPN standalone service, which will feature content from MLB, NHL, MLS, collegiate events, and tennis Grand Slams, and more.
What will it be called?
Disney CEO Bob Iger said during an investor's call in November 2017 that the upcoming streaming service would be Disney-branded and carry the Disney name, and that the majority of the content on the platform will be Disney original series appropriate for all ages. And an August 2018 report from Variety later revealed what he has been calling the streaming service: Disney Play. But this hasn't been confirmed.
What films and shows will it stream?
'Treasure trove of content'
When Disney's CEO announced Disney's standalone streaming service, he also confirmed Marvel and Star Wars titles will be exclusive to the platform: "I have described a very rich, treasure trove of content for this app," he said, according to CNBC. "We're going to launch big, and we're going to launch hot... We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ movies on this app as well."
It was previously reported that Disney would launch its streaming service with “500 films from the Disney library ... in addition to around 7,000 episodes of Disney TV.” In comparison, Netflix had 4,335 movies and 1,197 TV series in 2016, according to a report from AllFlicks.
Disney movies and original series
Disney's CEO confirmed in September 2017 that the service will have up to five original series, three or four exclusive Disney movies, and Disney's entire TV catalogue. According to Variety, Iger has said that Disney is currently working on shows based on Monsters Inc., High School Musical, as well as a new series from Marvel. There are no details yet about any of these shows or when they will premiere.
In a statement, Disney said consumers can expect its upcoming streaming service to include new Disney films and other movies from the Disney library as well as Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD programming.
Live-action Star Wars TV show
During on an investor's call in November 2017, Disney's CEO announced that The Last Jedi's director, Rian Johnson, will get his own Star Wars trilogy, and that Disney is planning a live-action Star Wars television show Jungle Book and Iron Man director Jon Favreau for the upcoming streaming service, as well as new episodes of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But that's all we know.
A report from CNBC claimed Disney wanted to purchase a large majority of 21st Century Fox, including the rights to films like the X-Men franchise and TV series like Futurama. Disney hasn't commented on those reports, but Disney's CEO has said it is not ruling out licensing third-party content, so long as "the product fits within the Disney brand". Nothing will be R-rated, Iger said.
Which devices will support it?
Device support is unclear, though Disney has referred to the upcoming service as an "app" on several occasions, suggesting it could be streamed to smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other internet-connected devices capable of running applications.
How much will it cost?
A subscription to Disney’s streaming service will be “substantially cheaper” than Netflix, according to Disney's CEO Bob. While on an investor's call in November 2017, Iger detailed the streaming service, which still doesn’t have an official name, and also mentioned pricing:
“We’ve given a lot of thought to pricing,” Iger said. “I can’t get specific with you yet, because we haven’t determined it yet. It will be substantially below Netflix because we’ll have substantially less volume.”
We suspect the price will land somewhere between $8 and $14
When is it launching?
Disney plans to launch its standalone streaming service in 2019. During the company’s latest earnings call, Iger said the new streaming service will be “the biggest priority of the company during calendar 2019".
Where will it be available?
The service will launch in the US. An international version of the service might release before the US launch, however, due to streaming rights.
What about DisneyLife?
It's unclear how this will affect DisneyLife, Disney's own subscription service in the UK - where you can not only watch the studio's movies and TV shows on demand and streamed to phones, tablets, computers, and TVs, as well as gain access to an extensive library of eBooks, audio books, and music. A subscription costs £4.99 per month, and currently, there are no plans to launch DisneyLife outside of Europe.