Another streaming service is about to enter the ring, and it’s got some big plans. We’ve been hearing about it for a while now, and Disney’s take on the streaming game is just about ready to make its debut.
Let’s look back to September of 2017, when Disney announced it was going to create its very own video streaming service. In its sights, all the other big players out there — especially the reigning streaming champ, Netflix. A year later, there was still no sign of the actual service but it was given a name: Disney Plus, or Disney+ as you’ll often see it appear.
That brings us to this week, and it’s taken a while to get here. Since Disney first announced the service, we’ve seen three “Star Wars” films hit the big screen along with five more Marvel (MCU) movies, not including “Avengers: Endgame” that comes to theaters later this month. But, as Disney will tell you, it was worth the wait.
The Death Star of streaming services
This past Thursday, we finally found out what was under Darth Vader’s mask – so to speak. Disney laid out all the details about its direct-to-consumer strategy during its 2019 Investor Day, and the company had a lot to talk about.
First and foremost, we now know the date Disney Plus launches and how much it’ll cost. It kicks off on Nov. 12 at a surprising $7 a month, about half the cost of Netflix’s most popular plan. Not only that, but you can save even more cash by paying for the service annually at $70 a year.
When it launches, you’ll have access to around 400 to 500 movies and 7,000 episodes of TV shows. They expect that number to grow quickly, but that probably means the price will eventually go up with it. Check the prices of other streaming services here.
As far as the platform itself, the UI looks similar to Netflix, and appears to share a few more traits under the hood. An algorithm will serve recommendations based on what you’ve been watching, and you’ll be able to create personalized watch lists. There’s also the option for multiple user profiles, just like Netflix and Hulu.
The Disney Plus Marvel-ous lineup
What do you get for $7 a month? A wide range of options, especially if you’re a fan of Disney, Star Wars and Marvel Studios.
It should go without saying that Disney’s classic animated films will be available, like “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid.” Eighteen Pixar films will be ready to watch on day one, with others coming within the first year of service. You’ll also have access to about 100 Disney Channel original movies.
All the Star Wars films and existing animated series will be there, too. Disney Plus will also be debuting the first live-action Star Wars TV show, “The Mandalorian.” Coming later, an as-of-yet unnamed prequel series following character Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna), who first appeared in the Star Wars anthology film, “Rogue One.”
Then there’s Marvel. Not only will you have access to the big MCU movies like the Avengers and Captain Marvel, there are some spinoff shows on the way.
There’s “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” starring the actors who play those characters in the movies, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. A series featuring Hawkeye (starring Jeremy Renner) is also said to be in the works, along with a spinoff for Thor’s mischievous brother, Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston.
Another Marvel show on the the way is about the adventures of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, called “WandaVision.” Not gonna lie, the name of that show sounds like hi-tech glasses for cool moms back in 1955.
They’re also planning an animated series based on the MCU with an interesting premise. It’s called “What If,” and it looks at alternate outcomes to big MCU events. For instance, what if Steve Rogers didn’t get the super serum to become Captain America, and instead it went to Peggy Carter? With the sheer number of movies, there’s a lot of material for them to work with.
You’ll also be able to catch a lot of National Geographic content and in a surprising announcement, all 30 seasons of “The Simpsons.”
Disney Plus joins an already-crowded streaming space
Disney Plus is late to the game, with other big streaming services having been established for a number of years. If you decide to sign up for yet another streaming service, remember the cost can add up.
Will it be a Netflix killer? I don’t have The Time Stone, but the Force sure is strong with this one. The buzz is real and that could mean a lot of subscribers right out of the gate. That, and Disney has a lot of content available on Netflix they might decide to remove. Now, they probably won’t snap their fingers and turn its Netflix offerings to ash, but it’ll probably go away over time.
Aside from what to watch, the pricing alone is a Thanos-level dropping of the gauntlet that should have at the very least raised some serious eyebrows among the Netflix brass. They’re already looking at even more competition coming from Apple and its recently-announced streaming service that also drops this year. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for another price increase at the beginning of the year.
For Disney, its focus is clear: It’s ready to come out swinging and establish its presence immediately. And it seems pretty confident it’ll be a success. Because as a great Jedi master once said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”