Disney shares jumped during Friday’s trading after the company announced strong quarter performance and an ambitious plan to launch its own online streaming space. The company’s stock was up 3% when the markets opened on Friday. At one time during the day’s trading, it was able to reach the highest value in three years. According to Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, the new online streaming service will be called Disney+ and will be available in the US at the beginning of 2019.
Content from the company’s flagship brands will be available. There will also be content from Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars etc. Iger also noted that the platform will offer all new theatrical releases by Disney. The studio has quite a lineup of anticipated releases in 2019. A new Marvel Avengers movie is expected to come out next year as well as new adaptations of Dumbo, Aladdin, and the Lion King. Disney is also releasing Frozen 2 in 2019, a sequel to the popular 2013 hit movie.
Disney+ will be the first fully owned multi-content streaming service by the studio. The company also has a stake in Hulu after its acquisition of 21st Century Fox and all its assets. The name also appears to mirror ESPN+, a sports service that was launched by the company in April this year. Iger said that the platforms are designed to offer users a constant stream of customized content that enhances their viewing experience. Disney added that it will be releasing more info about the new service soon.
The decision to launch a Disney branded streaming service was announced for the first time last year. The new platform is expected to be the biggest competitor to Netflix, another streaming service that has reported massive growth in recent years. Netflix is the biggest streaming service in the market today with over 100 million subscribers all over the world. Although Netflix has made massive in-roads in its original content, it has also relied heavily on other studios like Disney to offer its subscribers a bigger variety of content. However, this will change once Disney+ launches. The company said that it will remove all its content from Netflix.
Disney is also looking to revamp Hulu. The studio will own a 60% stake in the streaming service once its deal to take over Fox and all its assets is finalized next year. Disney’s CEO said that the immediate priority at the moment for Hulu is to increase available content. In addition to this, Iger noted that a big portion of the audience at Hulu comprises of younger people and this offers a great platform for advertisers. The service will likely carry most of the content from 21st Century Fox.
However, it isn’t clear yet whether there will be a process to determine what content goes to what platform since the company will have control of two major streaming services. However, Disney maintained that at the moment the goal is to give subscribers more diversity. Once Disney+ launches in the US, the next market will be Europe.