Disney's plans to establish itself within the streaming market includes Hulu, the video-on-demand platform that currently only operates in the United States but seeks to expand into new international markets.
In the fall of 2019, Disney will launch Disney+, its new streaming service, with personalized navigation and content that will highlight its portfolio of brands, including Pixar and Nat Geo. These additions will come in a timely manner and will allow users easy access to related content. That was the point made by Disney's CEO, Bob Iger.
Some of the Marvel Studios and Star Wars films will not be included in Disney+, not initially at least, as Disney does not have the broadcasting rights of most of the Star Wars films; these are currently in the hands of Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). The request for these rights to be sold would have to be fulfilled first.
"It will take time for those rights ultimately to come back to us," Iger said. He also said he would announce the delay or absence of some titles when the service begins to be marketed.
Hulu, a platform in which Disney will have a 60% stake in after it closes the acquisition of FOX in 2019, will be the service by which fans of Disney movies will be able to watch Disney+ programming. Iger stated that he's interested in acquiring the other 40% of Hulu that they do not own, if the co-owners, Comcast and AT&T, are willing to sell.
Some of the first titles ordered by the Disney+ service include an original series derived from the Marvel character, Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, as well as a prequel to Rogue One, part of the Star Wars franchise, starring Diego Luna.
The project is considered an espionage thriller, where Luna, a rebellious spy, will be followed during the years of the Rebellion. Production is scheduled to begin next year.
Meanwhile, Iron Man director Jon Favreau is preparing another Star Wars live action series entitled “The Mandalorian,” the first television series for the franchise. Set between the original trilogies and the new ones, the show will follow a lone gunman in the confines of the galaxy.
Disney+ will also include the reinstated musical show “High School Musical”, as well as animated titles such as the new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Pixar series, Monsters Inc.
On the other hand, Anna Kendrick's Christmas movie in which she will play Santa Claus’ daughter it’s set to premiere in November. The studio is also working on a new live version of Lady and the Tramp.
Disney will offer investors and analysts a preview of the Disney+ interface at an investor conference in April.The Fox acquisition is also expected to close in April.
For his part, Nat Geo's executive vice president of programming strategy and acquisitions, Christian Drobnyk, stated that Disney's direct-to-consumer plan is Nat Geo's plan, as it’s aggressively pushing for broadcasting rights.
Disney's bet with this platform is to root part of its success with all the new content and rights acquired from their purchase of 21st Century Fox, as well as the broadcasting of Captain Marvel on Disney+, and the hits that are yet to be released by the company in 2019, a list which includes Toy Story 4, Dumbo, the Lion King.