Disney has finally announced its plans to launch its own streaming service, after months of speculations in the industry.
Disney+ will launch in North America in November, but the company has warned it is likely to take much longer to launch elsewhere. It is because Disney has already sold the rights to its content to other streaming platforms and will either need to wait until those deals have expired, or work with competitors to end the deals early.
Disney said it will be as long as four years before all of the deals will expire. Such a delay could impact its ability to succeed, however, it’s likely Disney will try to reclaim all of its content long before then with chief executive Bob Iger describing Disney+ as his “biggest priority”.
Industry experts are predicting Disney+ will become a serious player in the streaming market. With a subscription fee of $6.99 per month, customers can expect to have access to content from the classic Disney era, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. In addition, Disney also owns National Geographic and 20th Century Fox, meaning documentaries like the Oscar-winning climbing documentary Free Solo and The Simpsons will also be available.
However, having brought in over $7 billion from box office sales last year, Disney is expected to maintain its core business and keep its big releases off Disney+ until they’ve had their usual run-time through cinema and DVD release.
The announcement comes at a big time for streaming services, with Netflix planning to spend $15bn on original content this year and the launch of Apple TV+.