Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse may have a new home—your living room.
The Walt Disney Co., best known for animated classics and family-friendly entertainment, launched a new streaming service called Disney+ on Tuesday, that will give potentially millions of cord-cutting consumers access to its trove of content.
By offering its streaming service, Disney, one of the biggest and oldest entertainment companies in the U.S., is entering the streaming wars, currently dominated by relatively young and innovative companies, such as Netflix and HBO.
While Disney+ is going up against new and existing streaming services, it is offering its content at $6.99 per month, roughly half the cost of a Netflix subscription. For that price, streamers can watch Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and National Geographic content. The platform will ultimately hold a library of 7,500 TV episodes and 500 Disney movies, plus movie franchises including Star Wars and Marvel Comics, in addition to popular TV shows such as The Simpsons.
Like other direct-to-consumer streaming platforms, Disney+ plans to make original content in 2020. With the new service, Disney is set to develop a revival of Lizzie McGuire (among others) and several new FX series, which will be found on Hulu, which it jointly owns.
A big market for streaming
Total revenue for the streaming industry was $22.6 billion in 2018, and is projected to increase to $30.6 billion by 2022, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Meanwhile, Americans spend roughly $44 monthly on subscription to streaming services, according to a new Wall Street Journal-Harris Poll survey. Although Netflix is the market leader, 30% of subscribers surveyed said that they would consider leaving the service for a new one. Additionally, 47% of respondents said that they are likely to sign up for Disney+. That percentage climbed to 70% for people with children.
Source: Wall Street Journal-Harris
By the numbers
Netflix leads the pack with more than 158 million customers globally. Disney could have 130 million customers in five years, according to research from Morgan Stanley. Here’s how the rest stack up, according to Forbes:
|Platform||Number of Subscribers|
|Amazon Video||97 million|
|HBO Now||23 million|
How monthly pricing stacks up
Consumer deals abound
To make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle, Disney is offering a few deals for potential customers, including an offer for Verizon customers, a bundle package with Hulu, and a free trial with Amazon Fire TV. Disney will certainly not be the last company to enter the streaming wars. In 2020, new streaming platforms from NBC and HBO are expected to further complicate the question of which streaming services are consumer must-haves. NBC’s Peacock is set to arrive in April 2020. By 2021, Netflix stand-bys The Office and Parks and Recreation will be moved to Peacock. Meanwhile, HBO’s streaming service HBO Max, which will also drop in 2020, will reclaim Friends from Netflix when it launches.
More about the competition
- HBO, owned by AT&T, spends billions of dollars annually on original content, and it has its own streaming blockbusters such as the recently concluded “Game of Thrones” series.
- Amazon Prime Video has produced 80 original TV shows, and has nearly 100 more in the pipeline, according to reports.
- Hulu currently has nearly 100 original TV shows either available now or in the works. Hulu’s other owners include Disney and Comcast. (AT&T was also an owner, but Hulu recently bought out its shares from AT&T in a deal that values the streaming service at $15 billion.)
- Apple recently launched Apple TV+, and is planning to spend $1 billion on original content, according to reports.
- Cable companies Viacom and Comcast have both launched streaming services. Even Walmart is getting in on the act with its recently acquired video platform Vudu. Facebook is also experimenting with its own on-demand video service, called Watch.