Nov 12, 2019

Disney+ officially launches to define Bob Iger's legacy

Photo: Disney

Disney+, the company's streaming service, officially launched Tuesday in the U.S., Canada, and The Netherlands.

Why it matters: The service will be the flagship product to define the career of Disney CEO Bob Iger. On an earnings call last week, Iger called the launch "one of our most ambitious initiatives to-date."

What's new: For $6.99 per month, subscribers will have access to nearly 500 films and 7,500 episodes of television from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

  • As part of the launch, the service also premiered its first original series,"The Mandalorian," a live-action Star Wars series.
  • In a statement, Disney said that most new episodes of each series will premiere on Fridays at 12:01 a.m. PT.
  • This is notable because it reinforces that Disney will roll out new series weekly — unlike Netflix's binge model.

Subscribers will also get access to Disney's entire collection of animated films — including Pixar — and many of Disney and Fox's most successful box office films, like the Marvel and Star Wars series

  • Hundreds of episodes of TV hits will also be available, including all episodes of "The Simpsons," over 400 hours of content from National Geographic, and thousands of episodes from the Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
  • Disney+ will also be a part of a $12.99 bundle that will feature a combination of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu with ads.

Our thought bubble: Disney is most competitive thanks to its content offerings and competitive pricing, costing less than Netflix and Amazon Prime — and its bundled service costs the same as Netflix's most popular subscription tier.

Data: Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Disney's entrance into the streaming wars will be the start to a long push by traditional content companies to oust Netflix as the top streaming company.

  • Netflix is one of the few companies left in the streaming wars that's investing in content to sell more content. Most of the other streamers are using streaming to sell other stuff — like merchandise, phones, or internet plans.
  • AT&T will use streaming to sell more wireless plans, while Amazon uses its service to increase its Amazon Prime subscriptions.
  • In Disney's case, the company will use streaming to even further popularize its biggest franchises, so that it can sell more tickets to cruises, theme parks and merchandise.

The bottom line: Disney+ will determine Disney's fate in the entertainment landscape for generations to come — just don't expect it to be all about streaming.

Go deeper: Disney strikes key deal with Amazon ahead of Disney+ launch

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More than 10 million sign up for Disney+ in first day

Photo: Disney

The Walt Disney Company said Wednesday that its new streaming service Disney+ had 10 million sign-ups since it launched Tuesday at midnight.

Why it matters: Disney wouldn't release the number if the company didn't think it represented a major milestone. Disney told investors in the spring that it hopes to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Disney+ looks upward, beyond glitches

Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Disney+ streaming service's launch was met with technical issues, compromised passwords and a whole lot of demand.

What's next: The company is looking forward, not back, with a top executive saying that the company won't rely as heavily on data as rival Netflix did in building its service or creating its content.

Go deeperArrowNov 20, 2019

Disney breaks $10 billion box office record

Photo Illustration: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With the help of a successful weekend showing of "Frozen 2," the Walt Disney Company has officially raked in more than $10 billion this year in box office sales, a new record.

Why it matters: Disney’s box office success this year is attributable in part to a years-long strategy to invest in major tentpole franchises, like Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. Most of its biggest box office hits this year came from those three brands.

Go deeperArrowDec 9, 2019