TV has evolved and the business model of cable company bundling has declined. The term “cord cutters” may sound cutting edge, but it’s becoming normal for people to question the need for legacy cable TV. Netflix continues to pick up awards and subscribers, and content creators like HBO, Showtime, CBS, and Starz are finding new customers with their streaming services. Companies like Amazon and Hulu are starting to see a significant pickup, while Apple has gone on a recent new show buying spree. But that all pales in comparison to the plans of the king of media-Disney.
Disney will be debuting their streaming service in late 2019, and it looks like they will come out swinging. Disney, with their rich history of animated and live-action blockbusters, including Pixar titles like Toy Story, posses a monster library of content. When you add in the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, it is easily one of the biggest story catalogs on the planet. But with their recent acquisition of Fox, they become the undisputed champion of the box office and small screen.
Everything from The Muppets and The Simpsons, to Avatar and X-Men, are possibilities in the Disney universe, and it’s all coming to a single streaming service. And if that weren’t enough, consider Disney’s collective TV holdings, such as ABC, Fox, ESPN, A&E, NatGeo, just to name a few.
With the Fox acquisition, Disney also becomes the majority shareholder in Hulu. They intend to leverage Hulu for any R-rated content, so expect it to house titles like Deadpool and Planet of the Apes.
As for original content, Disney plans to tap into their universe and well-stocked talent pool, to put forward compelling content, including a Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directed Star Wars TV show and a Monster, Inc. series. New content will also include a live-action adaptation of the best-selling book Timmy Failure.
And when it comes to films, Disney has that locked. When you factor in the Fox Acquisition, Disney-owned films account for a majority of all box office revenue. They also dominate with award-winners such as the 2018 Academy Award winner for best picture The Shape of Water.
Netflix will lose all Disney-owned titles after next year. All Marvel titles, from Captain Marvel and Avengers 4, will be Disney exclusive, as will the final chapter of the Skywalker saga in Star Wars 9.
Disney has revealed little about their pricing model, other than it will likely be tiered in the beginning to address the available content. According to Variety, Disney CEO, Bob Iger states, “We want to walk before we run when it comes to volume of content,” later adding, “We have to put enough on to make sense from a price-to-value relationship perspective.”
“Our first priority is going to be reaching our core Disney fan,” Bob Iger, CEO of Disney
Where does this leave competitors like Netflix? With their recent acquisition of Millarworld, creators of Kick-Ass, and The Kingsman (Now a Disney owned property) franchises, and plenty of other unique content deals in the works, it’s doubtful Netflix will directly feel the pain anytime soon.
Amazon and its soon to be competition Apple are currently wrestling over the James Bond franchise, while Amazon pushes out its new Jack Ryan show this month and is sinking over $100 million into their Lord of the Rings-based series.
It’s also worth mentioning that D.C. will be releasing its own streaming service, although content looks to be thin.
Much like premium cable stations, it’s doubtful streaming services are a zero-sum game. People will likely subscribe to numerous services and the end winner is the consumer. We’ve already spent the last decade in a new golden era of television. Having the biggest companies in the world competing for our attention with huge TV shows is only going to make it better.