Disney Plus: 5 unanswered questions on Netflix’s streaming rival

Marvel’s The Avengers, its first large crossover film in 2012, hasn’t been confirmed for Disney Plus within the service’s first yr. 


Marvel Studios

Disney gave us a three-hour lesson, and it nonetheless wasn’t sufficient. 

Last week, Disney threw again the curtain on Disney Plus, its streaming service to rival Netflix. At an hours-long investor presentation at its Buena Vista studios in California, Disney unleashed an incredible quantity of details about the service’s programming, its app and the way it suits into the bigger Disney universe. In the US, Disney Plus will launch Nov. 12 and value $7 a month, or $70 for an annual subscription. 

Ultimately, Disney Plus is supposed to change into a worldwide digital hub to stream all of the family-friendly content material (that’s, the whole lot with out an R-rating) from Disney manufacturers, together with Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and 21st Century Fox. As Disney faces down rising competitors from tech powerhouses like Netflix, Amazon and — quickly — Apple, Disney Plus represents the leisure large’s full-throated response: It’s taking digital upstarts at their very own sport. 

In the meantime, we nonetheless have some questions. 

It’d be unfair to say Disney raised extra questions than it answered about its streaming service. (No, that’d be Apple.) Disney largely answered our greatest questions going into Thursday’s occasion. But whilst Disney confirmed us what the puzzle is meant to seem like when all the whole lot is put collectively, a couple of items stay that we aren’t positive how they match. From an inventory of 20 questions we requested Disney on Friday following the presentation, these are some the largest that stay unanswered. 

How lengthy will the $7-a-month value persist?

During Thursday’s presentation, Disney’s chief monetary officer, Christine M. McCarthy, hinted that Disney Plus pricing could rise because the service advances, calling the $7 month-to-month payment an “initial” value. But the corporate did not characterize how lengthy its preliminary value for Disney Plus would persist, nor did it specify the costs it could cost in different nations because it expands across the globe. 

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But for steering about how Disney is more likely to strategy pricing adjustments, count on an strategy like Netflix’s. Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger way back indicated Netflix was the benchmark for pricing its service. Back in 2017, he mentioned that regardless of the streaming service would price, the worth would undercut Netflix to replicate that the library of content material could be extra restricted than that of its greater rival. 

And Netflix realized the laborious method what sharp value hikes can do. In a pricing debacle in 2011, it basically raised costs 60%, misplaced members in droves and noticed its inventory value tank. Since then, Netflix has change into an skilled at tapping its costs gently increased each couple years. Its newest enhance, earlier this yr, raised the worth of its hottest plan within the US by a buck to $13 a month 

Netflix for years has mentioned its subscribers largely settle for these incremental value will increase as the corporate masses the service with extra content material they wish to watch. As Disney Plus ramps up its personal catalog of programming, you may guess safely that it will do the identical. 

Will Disney Plus have each Marvel film/Muppets present/[insert your favorite here]? 

At its investor day, Disney specified plenty of programming that you could depend on at launch and throughout the service’s first yr. Disney Plus can have each Pixar film out there on day one, for instance; the one exception is Toy Story four, a movie that can probably nonetheless be taking part in in some theaters. CNET has a complete listing of all of the packages Disney confirmed in writing. 

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Captain America: Civil War is one other main Marvel title that is lacking from Disney Plus confirmed library throughout the first yr. 


Film Frame at Marvel

But there are some high-profile gaps within the confirmed content material. The greatest is the catalog of Marvel films. Disney Plus can have Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man three and Thor: The Dark Worlds out there to stream at launch, and it’ll add not less than 12 extra Marvel films within the first yr. But that also leaves a handful of Marvel movies lacking, together with 2012’s first mega-crossover movie, Marvel’s The Avengers. 

Even for films that Disney produced and distributed itself, some stay locked up in licensing offers that can stop Disney from including them instantly. But the corporate hasn’t gone into specifics about what high-profile titles are excluded from Disney Plus and why. 

Will every season of unique sequence on Disney Plus be launched abruptly or week to week?

With Netflix’s manufacturing slate churning out new sequence each week, it is simple to overlook that its angle — let’s drop all episodes of a season directly for followers to binge — continues to be an outlier within the trade. Amazon and Hulu (the latter of which is now managed by Disney) launch their unique streaming sequence week to week for many titles. And premium networks that now provide direct-to-consumer streaming subscriptions, like HBO, persist with releasing their packages in episodic morsels once they’re broadcast. 

Disney did not deal with its plan for releasing its Disney Plus unique sequence, which can embody Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian at launch and Marvel cinematic universe sequence The Falcon and the Winter Soldier through the first yr. Given its background as a conventional community firm with ABC, The Disney Channel and others, it has a legacy of releasing week to week. But with Netflix as its prime competitor, it could undertake the rival’s’ technique round sequence launch to be extra aggressive. 

So far, it hasn’t specified. 

How lengthy after films change into out there to lease or purchase will you be capable to stream them?

Throughout Thursday’s presentation, Disney constantly mentioned that its big-budget blockbuster films would arrive on Disney Plus to stream after their “theatrical and home entertainment windows.” That means films like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are going to complete their runs in theaters and have a gross sales interval for DVD, Blu-ray and obtain buy or leases earlier than it will likely be unlocked for Disney Plus subscribers. 

But Disney did not make clear whether or not it could be noodling with how lengthy its films can be found to lease or purchase earlier than they go to subscribers. 

The firm did generalize this timing for one film, Frozen 2, which hits theaters Nov. 22. Disney mentioned Frozen 2 could be out there to stream on Disney Plus in the summertime of subsequent yr. That suggests Disney is sticking with its earlier “windowing” timeline for subscription video on demand — letting films stream about seven to 9 months after their theatrical launch. 

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Disney’s Frozen 2 will probably be out there to stream subsequent summer time after its November theatrical launch.


Disney

How many individuals can stream Disney Plus directly? Can you pay for extra simultaneous streams?

During its demo of the Disney Plus app, Disney known as out plenty of normal options of streaming companies — profiles, downloads, parental controls and so forth — nevertheless it by no means commented on how many individuals can stream from a Disney Plus account at one time. 

Netflix addresses this situation with pricing tiers. Its least expensive plan solely lets one particular person stream at a time, whereas its premium tier permits 4 simultaneous streams. (Netflix’s hottest plan lands within the center, letting two units stream directly.)

Disney did not deal with both of those ideas, neither the variety of streams nor the provision of tiers to extend that quantity when you have a giant household. And although Disney advised us that it could provide content material in 4K and HDR, it did not specify how a lot, what titles and at what extra price (if any).