The Walt Disney Co has revealed plans to offer US consumers a streaming bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and advertising-supported Hulu for $12.99 (€11.60) a month, beginning November 12th, setting out its stall in what is likely to become a fiercely-fought battle with competing SVoD services. The pricing matches the most popular subscription from Netflix, with Apple yet to announce pricing or availability for its Apple TV+ service.
Speaking during the company’s quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said the company was focused on integrating the Fox film and TV assets and using them with Disney’s businesses to move quickly into streaming video. “Nothing is more important to us than getting this right. We remain confident in our strategy and our ability to successfully execute it,” he declared.
Iger also revealed plans for international roll-out of the service, suggesting it was safe to assume that Disney was going to launch in multiple international markets within two years, certainly within three years, of launch in the United States, in a couple of other markets.
According to Paolo Pescatore, TMT analyst at PP Foresight, the move throws down the gauntlet to Netflix and other rival services, suggesting the package is competitively priced and seeks to reduce fragmentation.
“Initially, it seems that Disney is looking for scale but will need to increase revenue to recoup the significant investment,” he advised. “Consumers have some tough decisions ahead as they can’t sign up to all the streaming services.”
“Disney is leading the charge in the streaming subscribers war,” suggested Steve Miller-Jones, VP of product strategy, Limelight Networks. “They are pushing on an open door with streaming now predominant in the UK and other key markets. What’s more, our recent international State of Digital Lifestyles study also revealed streaming is cross-generational with big majorities of all ages from 18 year olds (70 per cent) to the over 60s (63 per cent) saying they stream movies and TV rather than play a DVD or download content.”
“New services like Disney+ will win in this market with compelling, rich and unique content. But, when there’s an expensive fight for subscriptions, current and new streaming services also need to keep in mind how a huge number of consumers (86 per cent) still find their digital content experience frustrating. Investment and innovation in content discovery using technologies like Machine Learning and AI is gaining ground in this space, which is going to be just as important as considerable investments in service delivery and customer service operations, in addition to content rights.”