Disney held their 2020 investor day on 10 December, and it’s all about the numbers as Star Wars and Marvel lead the raft of announcements
From what we read (and there’s a lot) the Disney business plan is working, and working well. Setting out in a rapidly growing market (streaming TV) with niche products (Disney, Star Wars, Marvel and more) and then lockdown driving volume even faster, the numbers are impressive. The logic is simple: niche content at a price attracts audience; audience drives revenue; invest in new products and drive audience figures. Reach a critical mass of titles and subscription fees can rise (as has happened with Netflix).
For fans this means a lot to take in and more new titles than we could cover in twenty news items. Don’t worry. We’ll bring the highlights and point you at all the details.
Walt Disney has achieved 137 million paid subscriptions across its various streaming services and has increased its target to 300–350 million by 2024. It’s going to do this with more than 100 new titles for Disney+, including many for Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel. National Geographic is also broadening its portfolio.
Those subscriptions break down into: 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and a staggering 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers since its launch in November 20
We’re going to focus on two big areas: Star Wars and Marvel.
New content includes:
Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor with Hayden Christensen returning as Darth Vader, and two series set in the Mandalorian era from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, a series featuring the fan favorite character Ahsoka Tano. Additional new titles announced for Disney+ include Andor, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Visions, Lando, The Acolyte, and A Droid Story. The next feature film in the Star Wars franchise, releasing in December 2023, will be Rogue Squadron, which will be directed by Patty Jenkins of the Wonder Woman franchise.
If you want to see a lot more, it’s all on the Star Wars site: FUTURE LUCASFILM PROJECTS REVEALED.
There’s also a bewildering array of news from Marvel. There will be WandaVision, premiering on Disney+ on January 15, and continues throughout 2021 with new films — like Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, Marvel Studios’ Eternals, and more! In addition to that, the superhero adventures are just getting started on the small screen and additional Disney+ series will feature characters like Loki, Ms. Marvel, and Kate Bishop.
There’s a full list with trailers on the Marvel site: All of the Marvel Studios News Coming out of The Walt Disney Company’s 2020 Investor Day Presentation.
The subscription charges
And with success comes the chance to up the revenue per head. The presentation revealed US pricing: from March 26, 2021, Disney+ will be priced in the U.S. at $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year, while the Disney Bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will be priced at $13.99 per month. We don’t yet know when UK prices will change but expect it will be in a similar time frame.
We aren’t in a position to judge the value of one subscription over another. Many people are happy with just Freeview/Freesat, others subscribe to Sky with a central interest in sport and others take Amazon Prime for music, free delivery and great entertainment. What is clear is the market should grow for a few more years and at some point the shared subscriptions must come under consideration. We suspect many households have legitimate shared access to multiple services, and there’s a balance to be struck between the desire of companies to make money and the ability of the audience to pay for multiple franchises. We look forward to seeing how it develops, and how (in the UK) other changes to broadcast televisions might dovetail.
Here at Cultbox we aim to keep you as up to date as possible with all the Cult TV/film/book/audio/game news. In the case of the Walt Disney Investor Day 2020, there’s a lot. If you’ve got a spare 3 hours 27 minutes and some odd seconds spare you can watch the whole thing here. If not, you can just download the 111 slides instead!