Ever since Disney acquired the majority of streaming company BAMTech in 2016, it’s been speculated that Disney would launch their own streaming service, instead of selling streaming rights off to Netflix. After the acquisition of BAMTech, ESPN, which Disney owns 80% of, announced its plans to launch its own streaming service, ESPN+. The service became available in April of 2018 and as of this writing, has over 2 million subscribers. It was announced late 2017 that Disney would in fact be launching their own streaming service, Disney+ in 2019. Although no official launch date has been revealed, it will be available later this year.
The first news that came out after the initial announcement was that starting with Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios’ films will be streamed exclusively on Disney+. Currently, several Marvel films can be streamed on Netflix, but moving forward, everything will be staying in house. Variety has also reported that Disney is developing 2 series starring Marvel characters. The characters coming to the small screen? Loki and Scarlet Witch. And more importantly, they will be played by their MCU actors, Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen. Meaning these films will most definitely be in the MCU cannon (whether the Netflix series actually are or not is still debatable), and Disney is not shying away from spending some serious money on their Disney+ exclusive content. In fact, it was reported earlier this year that Disney will spend up to $500 million in original content for the service.
Another exclusive to the service will be set in the Star Wars universe and directed by Jon Favreau, who is becoming a Disney favorite. The Mandalorian will be a fresh story set between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. There are several other Star Wars set shows rumored to be coming, but no concrete details as of yet. With the pending acquisition of Fox, the service is also planning to include content from National Geographic, a Fox subsidiary. Disney has stated that Disney+ will be a family friendly platform, so expect any ‘R’ rated content to remain on other platforms, most likely Hulu (which Disney will own 60% of after the Fox acquisition is finalized)
This week, Disney CEO Bob Iger did confirm that soon after the services launch, it will contain the “entire Disney motion picture library”. This means every Disney movie, from the cartoons of the 1920s, to the live action films coming out later this year, will be available on Disney+. The service will have at least 7,000 television episodes and 400-500 movies when it launches. Disney is expected to unveil a first look to investors next month.