The Disney Streaming Platform Will Be Available In Late 2019

Two weeks ago, the agreement confirming that Walt Disney would absorb Fox into its group was signed. With this acquisition – which includes 60% of the Hulu streaming platform – Disney has boosted its project to develop streaming services and compete with Netflix.

But the entertainment behemoth is in no rush. "It's a marathon, not a sprint", said Bob Iger, CEO of the group, during a telephone call with Wall Street financial analysts yesterday, according to Deadline.

The group's streaming package would be divided into three services:

  • Hulu – which has made an international name for itself by producing The Handmaid’s Tale – will focus on films and series for adults.
  • A Disney streaming platform planned for release in 2019 would target families with content from the Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm studios. 
  • ESPN, the TV network, would be aimed at sports lovers. 

So it seems that Disney isn't planning to simply combine all its content into a single streaming service. "We feel consumers are more interested in making decisions on their own in terms of what kind of packages they want",  Bob Iger added.

"It takes time to build the kind of content library that we intend to build." Although the CEO didn't give specific figures, he said that prices would reflect the more wide-ranging package (than the one offered by Netflix). According to Deadline, Wall Street experts believe that Disney will charge 6 to 8 dollars per month for access to its streaming platform. The group will also offer bundled packages for those who wish to subscribe to the three services.

Disney will work on the basis of a "less is more" strategy. Focusing on its cinema back catalog, the company hopes to attract a vast audience by offering cult films such as Star Wars, Avengers and The Lion King for streaming. But will this be enough to topple Netflix from its throne? 

The idea of a limited selection of films appears risky because it implies that people will want to watch the same content over and over again. Is this a viable strategy in the era of Facebook, Instagram and company, which are constantly channeling new content? 

What's more, numerous movies from Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar won't be available under their original distribution contracts – this includes Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Currently, Hulu and ESPN are only available in the US. Disney hasn't yet mentioned international expansion.

Meanwhile, the number of Netflix subscribers keeps on rising, quarter after quarter. 2019 will tell whether or not Disney can hope to carve out a niche in the exclusive, profitable streaming business.