We all know Disney’s streaming service is coming. It is going to be the host of the entire Disney catalogue, and new things like a live action Star Wars television show, and a live action remake of Lady and The Tramp. Now we know what it will be called – Disney Play.
In a piece from Variety about the streaming industry in general, Disney CEO Bob Iger dropped the name while saying it would be “the biggest priority of the company during calendar [year] 2019“.
They also don’t want to copy the Netflix model exactly, instead focusing on quality over quantity:
“We have the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game,” Iger said.
Netflix has many things for everyone, but a lot of their movies aren’t great. There are some gems in there (like Mudbound, Kodachrome, and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), but there a lot of duds as well. Netflix has expanded its original content exponentially in the last few years. Disney Play will take a bit longer to fill out its catalogue.
Black Panther is coming to Netflix soon. But once Disney Play launches, that will no longer be the case. Captain Marvel will be the first Marvel movie to be exclusively offered on Disney Play, as far as streaming services go.
Variety points out, that they will actually lose money in the short run by launching Disney Play:
In short, the evolution of the DTC marketplace for content will be costly, messy and risky. For starters, Disney will say goodbye to about $300 million in annual revenue it currently gets from Netflix for pay-TV rights to its theatrical releases, starting with its 2019 movie slate. Those movies — including “Captain Marvel,” “Dumbo,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen 2” and a new “Star Wars” installment — will now be key selling points for the new service Iger has referred to as “Disney Play.”
Content isn’t the only cost though, just running the service will cost the Mouse House a lot too.
Juenger has estimated it will take 40 million subscribers paying $6 a month for Disney to break even on its DTC service. As he notes, Disney will have to shell out big bucks not only for programming and marketing costs but for infrastructure such as customer service and payment processing. There will undoubtedly be unforeseen costs on the technology side: Disney spent $2.6 billion to acquire a majority interest in digital streaming firm BAMtech to support its streaming plans.
They have such a powerful catalogue of material that it is worth the risk of losing money in the short run, because they will absolutely make it back in the long run. They paid 4 BILLION for Lucasfilm, and nearly broke even just from The Force Awakens if you include merchandise with box office.
It does seem that Disney is taking their time with this, and when Disney Play launches, they will have a plan for their subscribers.
Will you be subscribing to Disney Play?