But there are huge challenges ahead of us. Streaming services are immensely expensive to build, and Disney now has four: Disney +, Hulu (39 million subscribers), ESPN + (11.5 million), and Star +, an overseas version of Hulu that will be available in the coming months is introduced in Latin America. Disney’s direct customer business losses were $ 2.8 billion in fiscal 2020. The company has ditched billions in royalties for amassing library content on Disney + instead of selling it to outside companies like Netflix.
Disney is also facing an increasingly competitive streaming environment. HBO Max, CBS All Access (soon to be renamed Paramount +), Peacock, Apple TV +, and the recently announced Discovery + are determined to keep moving forward. Netflix and Amazon continue to invest billions of dollars annually in the original programming.
A significant portion of the presentation was dedicated to Star, which will feature programs from Disney real estate such as ABC, FX, Freeform, Searchlight and 20th Century Studios, which Rupert Murdoch sold to Disney last year. In Latin America, Star + will be launched as a standalone service in June and will also include ESPN coverage of sporting events. In Europe, Canada, Australia and several other markets, Star + is being integrated directly into Disney +, adding a variety of more sophisticated programming to the service (“Deadpool 2”, the animated series “Family Guy”) that Disney potentially has an audience reach far beyond families.
The addition of a Star channel in Disney + also justifies a price hike of around 28 percent to around $ 11 per month.
New shows are also being routed to Disney’s Hulu, including the series “Nine Perfect Strangers,” a David E. Kelley puzzle starring Regina Hall, Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy – which Dana Walden, chairwoman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, called “juicy content that can’t be turned off”. Disney-owned FX, which broadcasts its programs on several Disney streaming services, is working with one on a TV spin-off of the film franchise “Alien” and a retelling of “Shogun”, the James Clavell saga half a dozen other highs profile projects.
During the presentation, Disney discussed its evolving approach to film distribution. The coronavirus pandemic has forced Disney and other studios to cut back on the release of big budget movies – more than half of US cinemas are closed – and redirect others to streaming services. In September, Disney debuted “Mulan” on Disney + as part of a “Premium Access” experiment and billed subscribers $ 30 for perpetual access. Pixar’s latest film, Soul, will be released on Disney + on Christmas Day at no additional cost.