Disney threw its hat into streaming Tuesday with the debut of its Disney Plus service.
It is hoping the $7-a-month service, years in the making, will attract millions of subscribers with its mix of Marvel and Star Wars movies and shows, classic animated films and new series.
There’s a lot riding on the gamble, as traditional media companies seek to siphon the subscription revenue now going to Netflix and other streaming giants.
With an advertising blitz, low entry price and coveted library of older movies and shows, Disney should “blow the doors off initially,” said Pivotal Research Group analyst Jeffrey Wlodarczak.
But the challenge will be keeping those subscribers in the long run.
Disney is not alone in making the gambit. Here’s a look at the new streaming challengers and what you get with each:
Disney’s entertainment service, featuring shows and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
Launch date: Nov. 12
Price: $7 a month or $70 a year. Getting Disney Plus with ESPN Plus and Hulu, both owned by Disney, will cost $13 a month.
Promotions: Seven-day free trial. Free year with all Verizon Wireless unlimited plans and when customers switch to Verizon’s Fios Home Internet or 5G Home Internet.
Original shows: “The Mandalorian,” a live-action “Star Wars” series created by Jon Favreau. A prequel to the “Star Wars” movie “Rogue One.” A series about the Marvel character Loki. A rebooted “High School Musical” series. A documentary series focused on Disney.
Other shows and movies: Animated classics, including “Aladdin” and “The Jungle Book,” will be available at launch; others will be added as streaming deals with other services expire. Movies released in 2019 or later will go to Disney Plus rather than a rival streaming service first. Disney Plus will also house past seasons of “The Simpsons,” which Disney got through its purchase of Fox’s entertainment business.
APPLE TV PLUS
Apple’s entry into the streaming business.
Launch date: Nov. 1
Price: $5 a month
Promotions: Seven-day free trial. A year free to buyers of a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod Touch or Mac.
Original shows: A Jason Momoa series called “See” and “The Morning Show,” a comedy starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carrell. The service will launch with nine original shows and movies, with more expected each month.
Other shows and movies: None.
The service from Comcast’s NBCUniversal will carry 15,000 hours of video at launch.
Launch date: April 2020
Promotions: Free for many Comcast cable and internet customers.
Original shows: Reboots of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Saved by the Bell.” Comedy series “Rutherford Falls,” from Michael Schur, creator of “The Good Place” and “Parks and Recreation.”
Other shows and movies: “30 Rock, “Will & Grace,” and “Cheers,” though these won’t stream exclusively on Peacock. Peacock will get “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office” once existing deals with Netflix expire. “Bridesmaids,” ”E.T.” and other movies from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.
A souped-up version of HBO from AT&T’s WarnerMedia, with some 10,000 hours of video at launch.
Launch date: May 2020
Price: $15 a month
Promotions: Free for about 10 million existing HBO subscribers — those who get HBO through AT&T distribution platforms such as U-Verse and DirecTV, and those who get the HBO Now streaming service directly from HBO, rather than a cable or online partner such as Amazon. Free for customers of AT&T’s higher-tier wireless and broadband offerings.
Original shows: A “Game of Thrones” prequel called “House of the Dragon.” ”Raised by Wolves,” a sci-fi series directed by Ridley Scott. “Strange Adventures,” a DC Super Hero anthology series.
Other shows and movies: HBO shows and movies, including theatrical releases that HBO licenses. Programs from the Warner Bros. studio, including “Friends,” ”The Big Bang Theory,” ”The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Pretty Little Liars.” The animated comedy “South Park.” New CW shows “Batwoman” and “Riverdale” spinoff “Katy Keene” will also be available to stream after the season ends.