Disney+ Officially Launches
The Walt Disney Co. early on Tuesday said that its Disney+ streaming service has launched, as planned, in the U.S., Canada, and The Netherlands with nearly 500 films and 7,500 TV episodes and revealed some new details.
The company, for example, said it expects the direct-to-consumer service to “launch in most major global markets within its first two years.”
For example, Disney+ is set to launch in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico on Nov. 19. Disney also previously said that on March 31, 2020, Disney+ will launch in markets across Western Europe, including the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and “a number of other countries in the region.
“The launch of Disney+ is a historic moment for our company that marks a new era of innovation and creativity,” said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger in a press release with the headline “Disney+ Lifts Off, Ushering in a New Era of Entertainment from The Walt Disney Company.” “Disney+ provides an exceptional entertainment experience, showcasing our library of beloved movies, TV series and exclusive original content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Ever since it was announced November 8, 2018, Disney+ has become the most-hyped streaming video service in history. Digital TV Research predicts that DIsney+ will reach more than 101 global subscribers by 2025.
But Disney’s direct-to-consumer video plans go back more than 5 years ago.
In 2013, the company began experimenting with releasing content, such as Teen Beach, Goldie & Bear, and Descendants, exclusively on their WATCH Disney “TV-Everywhere” apps before airing on linear television. Typically, TV-Everywhere apps don’t offer much more than you could get directly through a cable set-top, so this was clever for Disney to begin getting users accustomed to using TV and mobile apps to watch programming.
In 2015, Disney launched its first standalone streaming service, DisneyLife, in the United Kingdom. It offered thousands of movies, songs, TV episodes, and books for £9.99 (about $13) per month.
As is the situation a lot of companies are currently finding themselves in, Disney struggled to manage existing distribution deals while launching its service. For example, one might expect DisneyLife to include Star Wars movies, since Disney owns Lucasfilm, however, those movies were wrapped up in licensing deals with other companies. And more often than not, the content on DisneyLife was already available on other platforms.
As a result, the service didn’t catch on and some may even call it a failure. But Disney used the project as a testing ground, learning what customers wanted and how to retain them (i.e. exclusive content). They also expanded the service to Ireland to experiment with processing transactions in multiple currencies. Lastly, they ultimately decided to cut the price of DisneyLife to £4.99 (just under $7) per month. (By the way, Disney+ is priced $6.99).
In 2017, Disney started taking back it’s programming from Netflix and other competitors. Later that year, it was reported that Disney was in talks to acquire 21st Century Fox’s filmed entertainment, cable entertainment, and direct broadcast satellite divisions.
So while it may appear that Disney is entering the streaming wars as a newcomer, the company has had over 5 years to prepare for this day. And for the record, Disney+ may already started the day with over 1 million subscribers.