Disney+ Launches

BURBANK, Calif.—After much fanfare and analysis about what it means for the future of streaming, Disney officially launched its Disney+ streaming service today, offering up nearly 500 films and 7,500 TV shows. The service will cost subscribers $6.99 per month or $69.99 yearly, but some carriers, like Verizon are offering up deals for its own mobile subscribers with unlimited data plans as well as FiOS subscribers to access the service free for one year. Viewers may also subscribe to a package including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99 per month.

Disney says it plans to spend $1 billion on original programming, including new series from its Star Wars, Marvel and High School Musical franchises. These programs will join programming from ABC, Disney Channel, Freeform, National Geographic, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars after their original runs on primetime TV.

The company said it expects to break even by 2024, when it predicts it will have upwards of 60-90 million subscribers worldwide. The launch is beginning in the U.S. and Canada, Australia and New Zealand next week and much of Europe in the spring.

“The launch of Disney+ is a historic moment for our company that marks a new era of innovation and creativity,” said Bob Iger. “Disney+ provides an exceptional entertainment experience, showcasing our library of beloved movies, TV series and exclusive original content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.”

Planning for the streaming service has dictated Disney’s consolidation efforts in recent years, culminating with its acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s assets for $71 billion last spring.

Find out more on Disney+'s website (opens in new tab).

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.