April 15, 2019
Disney’s bold new foray into subscription streaming with Disney+ got a thumbs-up from investors on April 12—pushing shares up over 10% in morning trading , while Netflix’s stock was down more than 3%, Variety reported.
The global entertainment and theme park company announced that its Disney+ subscription video on demand (SVOD) service would cost $6.99 per month, which is nearly half the price of Netflix’s standard $13 monthly plan.
Disney is investing heavily in Disney+’s U.S. launch, slated for November 12, the news outlet said. In fiscal 2020, the Mouse House will spend $1 billion in cash on original programming for Disney+, while it will have just under $1 billion in operating expenses, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy told analysts.
The platform will be supported by subscriptions; not advertising. Indeed, Disney’s projections for Disney+ — to reach 60 million-90 million subs by fiscal year 2024—were far above Wall Street expectations. The breakeven point for the SVOD service of FY 2024 also is more aggressive than analysts predicted, Variety said.
Out of the gate, the news outlet reported, Disney+ will be the exclusive U.S. SVOD streaming home for Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm films—starting with 2019 releases, which include “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen 2,” and “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
All told, Disney+ will include 25 original series, including Jon Favreau’s Stars Wars-set “The Mandalorian” and a “High School Musical” series; along with ten original films and specials. In addition, it will be stocked with 400 library films — including 18 Pixar titles, nearly all Marvel movies and, within the first year, all the movies in the Star Wars franchise — and 100 recent movie releases from the Disney portfolio.
Also, it will feature 7,500 episodes of current a past TV shows; that includes 30 full seasons of “The Simpsons,” which are moving from FX’s Simpsons World app to the new service — one tangible result of Disney’s Fox takeover.
Disney will “likely” intro a discounted bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, Kevin Mayer, chairman of the company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment said on April 11 — which will give the company additional levers to play with. In addition, Disney’s absorption of Fox’s entertainment assets provides “an unparalleled arsenal of IP to support its streaming services,” Patrice Cucinello, a director at Fitch Ratings, told Variety.
The announcement of the $6.99 monthly price point “generated a collective gasp in the room,” MoffettNathanson principal analyst Michael Nathanson said in a note published Friday. The service “looks like a bargain compared to other entertainment options.” Nathanson reiterated a “buy” rating on Disney stock and boosted his target price to $141 per share (up $7).
Research contact: @Variety