THE MATCHUP BETWEEN DISNEY AND NETFLIX

Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Company, still believes in his company’s future in the digital world, or so he recently told investors, while at the same time reporting a large success for traditional movie releases.

Iger is predicting future success in streaming which will allow the company to launch direct-to-consumer service that allows television shows based on Disney franchises to stream alongside programming from the upcoming Fox acquisitions, like National Geographic.  In essence this means that Disney will be taking on traditional streamers like Netflix.  Disney is betting that its holdings of beloved Disney characters and franchises will be sufficient to lure consumers away from the monthly Netflix subscriptions  And, that could well be the case, at least in the U.S., where Netflix has lost out on viewership subscriptions in recent months.  Disney has said that its streaming service, set to launch in 2019, will provide programming that includes a new “Star Wars” series from its Lucasfilm division;  superhero segments offered by its Marvel Studios; and additional offerings from the Disney Animation and Pixar Animation divisions of the company.  The Disney+ streaming service will join the new venture of ESPN+ as well as Hulu offerings, over which Disney is acquiring majority control in the Fox acquisition deal.  This Disney-Fox deal, according to a recent WSJ article, will reduce the number of major Hollywood studios from six to five, and provide Disney the opportunity to begin the production of movies specifically for its streaming service.  The company will also continue its traditional approach of producing movies for theatrical release, and, later, for home viewing.  The new Disney+ streaming service sounds like the best of all possible worlds for a movie production studio – and, with Disney’s clear expertise in film making, it’s likely to be an opportunity for viewers as well.

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