The Walt Disney Company’s new direct-to-consumer OTT streaming service will be called Disney+. It will challenge Netflix’ domination on the SVOD market.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger revealed the service’s name during a live audio webcast of Disney’s fiscal full year and fourth quarter 2018 financial results. Disney+ is scheduled to launch in the US in late 2019.
Disney announced in August, 2017 that it would cut its ties with Netflix.
Disney+ follows the launch earlier this year of ESPN+ built around Disney’s sports-oriented media property. Iger says the service has already gained more than one million paid subscribers.
During an interview with CNBC Iger gave some more details about the Disney direct service that will feature Disney Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and ultimately National Geographic: “And then of course through the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, we’ll end up with a controlling stake in Hulu, or 60 percent of Hulu, and that will be a priority as well in terms of investment and growth in the — basically direct to consumer digital media space.
During the interview, Iger also said he would be interested in acquiring the 30 percent of Hulu that Comcast owns or the 10 percent that Warnermedia owns,” we certainly would be interested in buying their stake. But with 60 percent, which is what we will own, we’ll have enough control to manage Hulu in a way that is consistent with the strategy of the company is deploying.”
During the earning gs call, Iger said that he is looking at Hulu for “both global growth and investing more in content,” which points at an international roll-out of the service
Iger also announced that Lucasfilm is in development on a second Star Wars live-action series for Disney+ that will go into production next year. The series will follow the adventures of Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Andor, which he originated in the 2016 film.
“Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me,” said Luna. “I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply.” The rousing spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. A release date for the series will be announced at a later date.
Disney+ is also assembling a live-action series centered around a fan-favourite character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iger today confirmed that Marvel Studios is developing a series based on Loki, the god of mischief, to star Tom Hiddleston.
The new projects join a slate of films and series planned for Disney+ that includes new stories set in the worlds of Disney•Pixar’s Monsters Inc. and Disney Channel’s High School Musical, as well as a galaxy far, far away.
Earlier this year, Lucasfilm revealed that Emmy-nominated producer and actor Jon Favreau will write and executive produce The Mandalorian for Disney+. The live-action series, which is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, is currently in production.— Broadband TV News