BURBANK, Calif. — Disney is raising the curtain on a hotly anticipated video steaming service that’s aiming to topple industry pioneer Netflix, once a valuable ally.
The service, called Disney Plus, has been in the works for more than year, but Thursday marked the first time that the longtime entertainment powerhouse has laid out plans for its attack on Netflix and a formidable cast of competitors, including Amazon, HBO Go and Showtime Anytime.
Disney Plus will roll out in the U.S. on November 12 at a price of $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year. That’s well below the $13 monthly fee Netflix charges for its most popular streaming plan, signaling Disney’s determination to woo subscribers as it vies to become a major player in a field that has turned “binge watching” into a common ritual.
The streaming service is expected to take on rivals Netflix, HBO Go and Showtime Anytime. Disney also owns a controlling stake in streaming service Hulu.
According to the Verge, Disney confirmed it will “likely” bundle Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for one price. This is allegedly to offer “more value for consumers.”
Disney did not confirm to the outlet how much a bundle subscription will cost.
Disney ended a lucrative licensing relationship with Netflix in order to create the streaming service and faces challenges as it builds a service to compete with the entrenched streaming leaders.
Netflix will still have a far deeper video programming lineup after spending tens of billions of dollars during the past six years on original shows such as “House of Cards,” ”Stranger Things” and “The Crown.”
But Disney Plus will be able to draw upon a library of revered films dating back several decades while it also forges into original programming.
The new shows already on tap include “The Mandalorian,” the first live action “Star Wars” series, created by Jon Favreau; a prequel to the “Star Wars” film “Rogue One” starring Diego Luna; a series about the Marvel character Loki starring Tom Hiddleston; a rebooted “High School Musical” series and a new documentary series focused on Disney.
Earlier this week, the company announced it will premiere a “Monsters, Inc.” spin-off TV series to on the streaming service in 2020. The story picks up six months after the original film and follows a character named Tylor Tuskmon (voiced by Ben Feldman), who is “an eager and talented young mechanic on the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team (MIFT) who dreams of working his way up to the factory Laugh Floor to become a Jokester alongside his idols Mike and Sulley,” according to Disney.
Billy Crystal and John Goodman are set to reprise their roles as monster duo Mike and Sulley in the new show, titled “Monsters At Work.”
Additionally, movies that came out in 2019, and going forward, will be streamed exclusively on Disney Plus. That includes “Captain Marvel,” which came out earlier this year; “Avengers: Endgame,” which debuts in late April; and the upcoming “Toy Story 4,” live-action movies “The Lion King” and “Aladdin;” and “Star Wars Episode IX.”
The service’s entire lineup will cover five categories: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.