Nat Geo, original doc content part of the mix for Disney+

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger (pictured) has unveiled the launch date and name for the global media powerhouse’s anticipated SVOD service. Disney+ will launch in late 2019, and will feature ...
November 9, 2018

Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger (pictured) has unveiled the launch date and name for the global media powerhouse’s anticipated SVOD service.

Disney+ will launch in late 2019, and will feature content from the Mouse House itself, as well as staple brands such as Pixar, Marvel and the Star Wars franchise.

Also to be included in the mix will be content from National Geographic, which will become part of the Disney fold once the planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox is completed.

Announcing the news during a conference call for financial analysts regarding Disney’s full year and Q4 results, Iger also revealed more about major scripted projects in development for the service: a second Star Wars live-action series featuring Diego Luna, and a Marvel series focusing on the character of Loki, the god of mischief and brother to Thor, starring Tom Hiddleston. Those join another Star Wars project, The Mandolorian, and projects stemming from the Monsters Inc. and High School Musical franchises.

Non-fiction content for Disney+ is also in development, Iger said during the call, stating that the new platform is “also a perfect home for documentary series that will allow us to pull the curtain back and give people a behind-the-scenes perspective.

“We’ve got several docuseries currently in production, including an exclusive unprecedented look at Walt Disney Imagineering, featuring stories we’ve never really told before and images we’ve never shared,” he added.

With the service intended to provide “unprecedented access to our incredible library of film and television content,” Iger also said the service will feature “a constant pipeline of exclusive new content” as the company moves forward.

According to Iger, more will be revealed about Disney’s DTC strategy, as well as the new platform, during an investor’s conference in April, which will include “a first-look at Disney+ along with some of the content we’re creating for it.”

Elsewhere in the call, Iger told analysts that going forward, there could be “an opportunity to increase investment in Hulu, notably on the programming side,” adding that he would see that investment as focusing on general entertainment programming. After the Fox deal, Disney will own 60% of the service, with Comcast and WarnerMedia as minority shareholders.

WarnerMedia, for its part, is also planning on launching its own SVOD service by the end of next year.

Commenting on losing out in the bid for Sky, Iger noted that plans are underway to bring Disney+ to Europe, and introduce Hulu in more international markets.

“It could possibly be that it takes us a little bit longer to penetrate some of these markets, but we believe in the product that we will be launching and we’ll make sure that that product is tailored for the various European markets, not just because it needs to satisfy all of the quotas for SVODs in Europe, but also because we think it needs to be locally relevant,” he said.

“And we’re going to be selective in terms of the markets that we choose initially, but we believe we’re going to win – we have a real opportunity there, particularly when it comes to the Disney-branded service, which is going to feature Marvel and Pixar and Star Wars and Disney, of course, and the National Geographic,” he added. “Those are all very attractive brands in those markets and that’s going to make that product extremely unique and in demand.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.