Disney spotlights comprehensive direct-to-consumer strategy at 2019 Investor Day

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company’s highly anticipated Investor Day provided an extensive overview of Disney’s comprehensive direct-to-consumer strategy, and included presentations on Hulu, Hotstar, ESPN+ and the upcoming Disney+ service, which will launch in the U.S. market on November 12, 2019, at $6.99 a month.

The service will offer fans of all ages a new way to experience the unparalleled content from the company’s iconic entertainment brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, and will be available on connected TV and mobile devices.

During today’s event, which took place on the studio lot in Burbank, California, investors heard from Disney’s senior management team, including Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer; Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International; Christine McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer; Lowell Singer, senior vice president, Investor Relations; and Jimmy Pitaro, president, ESPN and co-chair, Disney Media Networks.

Presentations also came from Michael Paull, president, Disney Streaming Services; Randy Freer, chief executive officer, Hulu; Russell Wolff, executive vice president and general manager, ESPN+; Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company Asia Pacific and chairman, Star and Disney India; Ricky Strauss, president, Content and Marketing, Disney+; and Agnes Chu, senior vice president, Content, Disney+.

“Disney+ marks a bold step forward in an exciting new era for our company—one in which consumers will have a direct connection to the incredible array of creative content that is The Walt Disney Company’s hallmark. We are confident that the combination of our unrivaled storytelling, beloved brands, iconic franchises, and cutting-edge technology will make Disney+ a standout in the marketplace, and deliver significant value for consumers and shareholders alike,” Iger said.

Several creative executives from across the worlds of Disney—Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios; Pete Docter, chief creative officer, Pixar Animation Studios; Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm; Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios; Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide; Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Productions; Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks; and Jon Favreau, executive producer and writer, The Mandalorian—offered a glimpse into Disney+’s impressive and extensive content slate.

Disney+ will launch in November with a robust library of theatrical and television content, and in its first year will release more than 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials by some of the industry’s most prolific and creative storytellers. New original titles for Disney+ announced today include:

From Marvel Studios:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a live-action series with Anthony Mackie returning as Falcon and Sebastian Stan reprising his role as Winter Soldier
  • WandaVision, a live-action series with Elizabeth Olsen returning as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as The Vision
  • Marvel’s What If…?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios and takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.

From Walt Disney Animation Studios:

  • Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2, a documentary series showing the hard work and imagination that go into making one of the most highly anticipated Walt Disney Animation Studios features of all time

From Pixar Animation Studios:

  • Toy Story-based projects Forky Asks a Question, an animated short series, and the short film Lamp Life

From National Geographic:

  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum, a documentary series where Goldblum pulls back the curtain on a seemingly familiar object to reveal a world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and a whole lot of big ideas
    Magic of the Animal Kingdom, a documentary series which takes viewers behind the scenes with the highly respected animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium

From Disney Television Animation:

  • The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title), an animated film featuring many of the original voice cast

Scripted originals previously announced for Disney+ include The Mandalorian, the world’s first scripted live-action Star Wars series; the exclusive new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars; High School Musical: The Musical: The Series; the untitled Cassian Andor series starring Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk; the Marvel Studios’ series Loki starring Tom Hiddleston; Monsters at Work, Diary of a Female President; and live-action films Lady and the Tramp, Noelle, Togo, Timmy Failure and Stargirl. Nonfiction series also announced earlier this week include Be Our Chef, Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies (working title), Earthkeepers (working title), Encore!, the untitled Walt Disney Imagineering documentary series, Marvel’s 616, Marvel’s Hero Project, (Re)Connect, Rogue Trip and Shop Class (working title).

Additionally, Disney+ announced that all 30 seasons of The Simpsons will be available on the service on day one. In the service’s first year, audiences will also have access to family-friendly Fox titles like The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride and Malcolm in the Middle as part of an impressive collection of more than 7,500 television episodes and 500 films including blockbuster hits from 2019 and beyond.

“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Mayer. “We’ll continue to enhance the user experience with a constant pipeline of high-quality programming, making the service even more appealing to consumers.”

Today, Disney also unveiled a feature-rich product experience that makes it easy for subscribers to navigate, discover, and watch their favorite programming, with dedicated immersive branded tiles and dedicated pages for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have the ability to create custom profiles, with each receiving personalized experiences curated to their unique tastes based on past behaviors and preferred content.

The Disney+ service will be available on a wide range of mobile and connected devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players and smart TVs, and will adjust to the best possible high-definition viewing experience based on a subscriber’s available bandwidth, with support for up to 4K HDR video playback. An unprecedented amount of content will also be available to fans for offline viewing.

Following its U.S debut, Disney+ will rapidly expand globally, with plans to be in nearly all major regions of the world within the next two years.

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