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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. 

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Go deeper

Dec 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Disney+ has 86.8 million subscribers

Credit: Disney+

Disney CEO Bob Chapek told media and investors on Thursday that its streaming service Disney+ now has 86.8 million subscribers.

Why it matters: The company's streaming success has helped to offset major losses in Disney's studios, parks and resorts divisions.

1 hour ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).