Disney Prepares to Unveil Its Streaming Service

“We expect Disney+ to see very fast early adoption,” Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen, wrote in a report on Tuesday that also highlighted strength at Disney’s theme parks and coming movies like a live-action “Lion King.”

Mr. Iger has spent years laying the groundwork for Disney Plus. In 2015, as Netflix grew at a blistering rate, Disney began experimenting overseas with an app called DisneyLife. Rolled out in Britain, DisneyLife offered old movies and television series, children’s e-books, games and music. Without new movies, or at least exclusive content, interest was limited.

In 2016 Mr. Iger started talking more openly about needing to develop a streaming business — a risky proposition for a company with vast traditional television holdings. Disney paid $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BamTech, a streaming services company, eventually paying $1.58 billion more for majority control.

Mr. Iger announced in summer 2017 that Disney would introduce its own Netflix-style service and stop selling movie rerun rights to Netflix, forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. In 2018 came Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, including National Geographic and the Fox movie studio. Mr. Iger positioned the acquisition as supercharging Disney’s move into streaming.

Michael Nathanson, a media analyst at MoffettNathanson, estimated in a report on Tuesday that Disney Plus could lose as much as $1.8 billion annually through 2023, with programming as one major expense. Add in losses from Hulu and ESPN Plus and Mr. Nathanson expects Disney’s streaming division to lose roughly $3.8 billion this year and next.

At least nine new movies are in production or advanced development for Disney Plus, with budgets ranging from $20 million to $60 million. Disney is remaking two musicals from its animation library as live-action films: “Lady and the Tramp” (1955) and “The Sword in the Stone” (1963). Other new films include “Togo,” a period adventure about a sled dog, and “Noelle,” starring Anna Kendrick as Santa’s daughter.

Marvel Studios is working on three Disney Plus shows. One will focus on Loki from the “Avengers” movies, with Tom Hiddleston reprising the role. Another “Avengers” star, Elizabeth Olsen, will reprise her Scarlet Witch character in a second series. A third show will be associated with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” with Anthony Mackie returning as the Falcon.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.