ALL ABOUT THAT BRAND

Disney’s version of Netflix is going to be cheaper—and have Star Wars

Obsession
Glass
Obsession
Glass

Earlier this year, Disney said it would stop sending new movie releases to Netflix, its soon-to-be streaming rival, in 2019. Disney—as with its theme parks, consumer products, and films—is hoping its brands can help it survive in a Netflix world. Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar will be front and center in Disney’s own streaming service, due out that year.

Chief executive Bob Iger gave investors a peak at the programming they can expect from the as-of-yet-unnamed offering, on the company’s earnings call yesterday:

  • The latest Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney movie releases
  • 4-5 original feature films a year produced exclusively for the service by Disney’s studios
  • A live-action Star Wars series
  • A Marvel TV series
  • A series based on the Pixar film franchise, Monsters, Inc.
  • A High School Musical series, based on the 2000s Disney Channel TV-movie franchise
  • Other originals and movies from the Disney Channel
  • Short films and features from across Disney
  • Back catalog with “thousands of hours” of Disney movies and TV shows

Iger also said Disney may license shows and movies from third parties. And that he’s spoken to ABC’s production arm about producing programming, but that nothing is confirmed as of now. The studio co-produces projects that air on networks like broadcaster ABC, such as The Good Doctor and Grey’s Anatomy, as well as shows like Marvel’s The Defenders with Netflix.

Disney’s offering will undercut Netflix in price. It will be “substantially below” what Netflix costs, Iger said, in part because it will have a more limited library. The media conglomerate won’t spend as much on content for the service as Netflix does; it’s expected to spend less than $1 billion, Bernstein analysts estimated, whereas Netflix is spending $8 billion in 2018.

But Disney said it isn’t trying to be the “Netflix killer” the media has made it out to be.

“There’s been a lot written about whether this is aimed at being a Netflix killer,” said Iger. “They’ve been a good partner of ours. Our goal here is be a viable player in the direct-to-consumer space, space that we all know is a very, very compelling space to be in.”

When asked how all of Disney’s proposed streaming programming—which could venture beyond the wholesome G-rated fare families expect, especially if it dives into the edgier end of Marvel—would work with the overall Disney brand, Iger likened it to its theme parks.

“Think about it like you think about our theme parks,” said Iger, “where they are Disney parks, but you go in and you see Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar, for instance. So it’s a collection–it will be a collection of just those brands… There will be ample filtering opportunities for people using it, so if you just wanted your kids to see the Disney-only product that can easily be accomplished.”


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