Dec 11, 2020 - Economy

Inside Disney's plans for streaming domination

Data: Company filings. Chart: Axios Visuals

Disney unveiled its most ambitious content push in its 97-year history, announcing more than 100 new projects, most of which will be available on its streaming service Disney+.

The big picture: In just over a year, Disney has gobbled up 86.8 million subscribers, making it nearly half the size (45%) of Netflix, which launched its streaming service over a decade ago.

Driving the news: In a four-hour investor presentation, Disney unveiled plans for 10 new Marvel and Star Wars series, as well as 15 new Disney live action, Disney animation and Pixar features to be released on Disney+.

  • Disney also announced a slew of new content for Hulu, including a new show with the Kardashians in late 2021. 

Disney's strategy contrasts starkly with rival HBO Max. HBO's parent company, AT&T, said last week it would make all 2021 Warner Bros. films available on HBO Max at the same time that the films debut in theaters.

  • Disney, which owns 40% of the domestic box office, can't afford such a bold release strategy, but CEO Bob Chapek said it would try putting one film, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” on Disney+ with a "premier access fee" in conjunction with theaters as an experiment in March. 

The big picture: The pandemic has caused entertainment giants to embrace streaming faster than most were prepared to do, resulting in lots of reshuffling at top companies.

  • Last week, Discovery+ also joined the streaming wars, debuting a new global entertainment streaming service discovery+ for $4.99 monthly, focused on unscripted programming. 

Sign up here for my weekly Media Trends newsletter.

Go deeper