Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming service will likely cost less than Netflix, and users may eventually be able to bundle it with the ESPN and Hulu apps to more closely approximate a traditional cable TV subscription.
That is according to Disney CEO Robert Iger, who said during a conference call with investors Tuesday that the Disney-owned ESPN and co-owned Hulu apps would serve different audiences to the audience who are looking for family-friendly Disney entertainment fare — but that the company has already considered how to best serve those consumers who exist in the overlapping section of the apps' Venn diagrams.
“If a consumer wants all three, ultimately we see an opportunity to bundle them from a pricing perspective,” Iger said, explaining that the reason for keeping them separate lies in a philosophy that smaller, more consumer-directed bundles seem to be the future of streaming, and trying to aggregate all of Disney's diverse content into one place would likely become unwieldy.
In the meantime, Iger said, the price point on the Disney direct-to-consumer streaming service will be reflective of an app that has a smaller volume of prestige content, rather than the more all-encompassing philosophy that drove early Netflix.
“The price will reflect a lower volume of product, as will the cost of producing and owning that content,” Iger explained.
During the call, he reiterated that the app will feature all new Disney content going forward from calendar year 2019, as well as original TV and film productions created for the app, exploiting Disney's intellectual property, including Marvel, Pixar, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm.9comments
Other than the already-announced Star Wars and Monsters Inc. series, Iger was understandably light on specifics, although he did say that work is already underway on some of the Disney DTC productions.
Among the vagaries, though, he did suggest that the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox — the parent of 20th Century Fox — opened up some doors in terms of Marvel-branded programming for the service. Fox controlled the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. The X-Men, one of Marvel's biggest successes over the last thirty years in comics and onscreen, already have TV projects in the works: The Gifted and Legion.