The new Disney streaming service will be called Disney + and is about to launch next year, the company said on Thursday.
The name aligns the service with ESPN +, the streaming platform recently launched by the Disney-owned sports giant, and ends up the informal nicknames of Hollywood that included the Disneyflix shorthand, an allusion to the concurrent Netflix streaming. The CEO and president of Disney, Robert Iger, announced on Thursday the announcement of the company's fourth-quarter earnings.
The service will be "very elegant and very focused on the brand and will add navigation features that do not exist on other platforms," Iger told analysts, noting that he recently visited the company's BamTech branch, which is developing Disney +, and has discovered is "awesome".
Iger has described at least five content channels on Disney +: Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic, the latter of which will become part of Disney after the closing of the acquisition of Fox.
"We want to superservate the most avid fans of these five brands," he said.
The goal of the new direct-to-consumer service is to compete with Netflix, Apple and other streaming giants that have deep pockets and the ambition to dominate the original video space. But the approach is different: Iger had previously noted that Disney's streaming effort will target fewer, more manicured brands, as opposed to the Netflix volume.
The service will include original shows such as a Marvel Loki-centric series and several properties of "Star Wars", including a show just announced with Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. It is distinct from Hulu, the long-time streaming service that Disney will take control of the majority after Fox's closure. This platform will be full of high-end premium content from entities such as FX channel-channel and Fox Searchlight's "The Shape of Water" study.
The third stage of the tripod is ESPN +, which Iger said on Thursday collected over 1 million subscribers since the spring launch with the promise of thousands of college basketball games, Major League Soccer matches and UFC fights, among other sports. "And we have not even started marketing it," he said.
Iger also confirmed that talks are under way to guarantee the return rights on the offers of existing bookstores for Disney's titles. Potentially among these is the Twentieth Century Fox production agreement with HBO, which should run until 2022, but whose films the company would like to be able to offer first on its own service. Disney had previously announced that it would shoot films from Netflix.
An investor presentation in April will include more details on Disney +, said Iger.