Disney unveils streaming service

LOS ANGELES • Netflix, watch out. Walt Disney has talked about plans to start a Netflix-style streaming service for two years. On Thursday, the big reveal came.

The Disney+ service will cost US$7 (S$9.49), less than Netflix's most popular plan, which costs US$11. It is not expected to break even for about five years.

Mr Robert A. Iger, Disney's chief executive officer, offered long-awaited details about his counter-attack on the technology giants that have moved into the entertainment business.

Disney+ is dedicated to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, the Star Wars franchise, National Geographic and Marvel.

In a differentiator from rival streaming services, subscribers can download Disney+ content for offline access. Disney said it intends to roll out the service in Europe and Asia, starting next year.

The presentation began with a 14-minute reel highlighting its vast library, which includes Fox movies such as Titanic, The Sound Of Music, Avatar and Alien.

The moment amounted to a turning point in the streaming wars.

For the first time, a traditional media company demonstrated the firepower needed to compete with Silicon Valley in the fast-growing realm of online video.

Disney also unveiled footage from original shows that are headed to Disney+. One live-action series is called The Mandalorian.

Set in the Star Wars universe, it cost an estimated US$100 million for 10 episodes, on a par with earlier seasons of HBO's Game Of Thrones.

NYTIMES, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline 'Disney unveils streaming service'. Print Edition | Subscribe