Disney Plus streaming service to arrive in NZ before Christmas

The battle for consumer attention just grew more intense here in New Zealand, with the announcement that new video streaming service Disney Plus will launch in New Zealand and Australia on November 19 this year, a week after the service's launch in North America. Analysts from TVmap summarise the latest news:

Based on previous announcements, Disney Plus wasn’t expected to roll out internationally until 2020. But, as CNET notes, the earlier timing is strategically smart.

For one, Disney Plus can piggyback on the marketing for all of Disney's big-budget films being released for the holiday season -- Frozen 2 hits theatres in late November and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be released in the lead-up to Christmas.

The new Disney Plus service will carry a subscription price-tag of A$8.99 a month ($89.99 a year) in Australia and NZ$9.99 per month ($99.99 per year) in New Zealand, which makes it more than competitive with what’s on offer in each market.

Disney Plus content on offer
Disney Plus will be able to draw on massively–appealing content from the cinematic and television vaults of:
·       Disney
·       Pixar
·       Marvel Studios
·       Lucasfilm (Star Wars and Indiana Jones)
·       National Geographic Channel
·       Fox

Not only that, but the streamer has already announced a wide range of exclusive programs being developed set in both the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universes, as well as new content leveraging Fox properties. These programs, which will only be available through Disney Plus, include:

From the Star Wars universe:
·       The Mandalorian - an eight-episode live-action series set after the events of "Return of the Jedi", focused on a "gritty and immersive world of bounty hunters, scum and villainy."
·       Untitled Cassian Andor Series - featuring two of the characters from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, rebel spy Cassian Andor and smart-mouthed robot K-2SO.
·       (Rumoured) series featuring Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi

From the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
·       The Falcon and The Winter Soldier - the further adventures of these two heroes, fresh off Avengers Endgame (2020)
·       Loki - everybody's favourite Marvel villain returns in a six part series (2020)
·       WandaVision - Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will reprise their Avenger roles of Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch) and the Vision. (2021)
·       Hawkeye - Jeremy Renner is expected to train his replacement in this series, expected in 2021

From Fox:
·       The Simpsons - Disney Plus will become the new streaming home of The Simpsons (all past and future episodes)

Disney Plus is also planning to reboot/reimagine some of Fox's classic properties, including:
·       Home Alone
·       Night at the Museum
·       Cheaper by the Dozen
·       Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Disney plans to have more than two dozen original series and several original movies during the platform's first year of release. Within five years, that number is expected to double.

It will take some time for existing content licensing deals to run their course, but eventually Disney Plus will be the exclusive home for all content produced by Disney through its various subsidiaries.

How Disney Plus will be made available to audiences
Like most streaming services, Disney Plus will plug into the existing infrastructure of devices already installed in consumer homes, including:

·       Google Chromecast and Chromecast-enabled devices
·       iPhone, iPad, iPod touch
·       Android phones, Android TV
·       Apple TV
·       Roku boxes and sticks and TVs
·       Microsoft Xbox One
·       Sony PlayStation 4, Android-based Sony Smart TVs

Whilst Disney subscription expectations are modest in the first instance, TVmap analysts consider that Disney Plus will quickly find local audiences for its extensive range of family-friendly fare.

Disney Plus is, like Netflix, advertising-free, so it won’t be competing for advertising dollars.