Disney has launched its long-awaited Disney+ streaming service this week in the United States and Canada, after its successful test in the Netherlands earlier. The launch streaming lineup of original content includes the first episode of the very first live-action Star Wars series, ‘The Mandalorian’, along with an extensive library of Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies and shows, as well as the first 30 seasons of ‘The Simpsons’.”
The service is available on the web, iOS, Android, Roku, various smart TVs and game consoles and Amazon Fire TV, all for a monthly price of $6.99. The company is also offering Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu together in a package that it calls the Disney Bundle, at a monthly price of $12.99, which incidentally is the same as a basic Netflix subscription. In addition, Disney, which owns the Hotstar streaming service in India, is planning to bring it to other developing countries in Asia.
Speaking about the launch of Disney+, the company’s Direct to Consumer and International Chairman Kevin Mayer called Disney+ “the crown jewel of our streaming collection.” He explained that the service will be “the ultimate and exclusive home” for all the content from the company’s Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic brands.
He pointed out that this has required a big shift in Disney’s strategy, since it has had to pass up revenue from licensing content to streamers like Netflix. The company also expects to spend $1 billion on original content during the service’s first year, with that number increasing to $2.5 billion by its 2024 fiscal year.
It also could take a little while before the full libraries of the various Disney brands make it onto the Disney+, because they need to be freed up from the company’s deals with Netflix and others. But at launch, it will offer a number of classic Disney films, as well as the first seven Star Wars movies (available in 4K Dolby Vision for the first time) and many Marvel movies, including ‘Endgame’.