The Walt Disney Co. is banking on original programming such as the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, as well as original content from Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar, to bring its new streaming service to life. In fact, Disney could spend up to $500 million on original programming for the streaming service this year.
An article from Variety takes a deep dive into the strategies and challenges the Mouse House is expected to face for the launch of its upcoming Disney+ service, and provides some (vague) details for its upcoming streaming service plans.
Though Disney has stated that its new streaming service will not try to compete with Netflix in terms of creating new content, a project like The Mandalorian, the first live-action Star Wars series, is set to be a big selling point for Disney+ (as are those Loki and Scarlet Witch miniseries). Not only that, but original films are also expected to be a major part of Disney+, with unnamed industry sources saying the company is open to making films in the $20 million to $60 million budget range for the service. One analyst estimates that Disney will allocate roughly $500 million to original programming for the streaming service in 2019.
One TV agent is quoted in the story as saying that Disney is “spending real money” on shows based on Marvel and Star Wars properties, meaning they'll have budgets that match the brand-name pedigree.
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger has also said that he sees the creative teams behind Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar as being responsible for most of the original material for Disney+. This could mean more original content – shows and films alike – based on its Marvel and Star Wars properties. In addition, Fox is also expected to provide original content to the service once the Disney-Fox merger closes.
Although a good deal of this is conjecture and speculation (Disney declined to participate in the story), more details about Disney’s investment in its direct-to-consumer operations will be available when the company reports its quarterly earnings on February 5.
So, until we learn more, and until Disney+ launches in September, we’ll have to keep turning to rival streaming service provider Netflix for content like this.