It's been a month since Disney announced a massive new direct-to-consumer subscription streaming app that will launch in 2019. The as-yet-unnamed app will feature Disney's entire film library, which contains hundreds of original films, meaning those films will leave streaming competitors like Netflix and Hulu in favor of the new service.
What wasn't clear at the time Disney made this announcement was how it would affect the blockbuster franchises produced by Disney-owned Lucasfilm and Marvel. Neither company was mentioned in the initial announcement, and Netflix later announced it was in "active discussions" with Disney to try and hang on to films like Rogue One and Doctor Strange.
Now Disney has confirmed it: If you want to stream Lucasfilm or Marvel movies, you're gonna have to get the app.
"[The app] will have the entire output of the studio, animation, live action at Disney, including Pixar, Star Wars and all the Marvel films," Disney CEO Bob Iger said Thursday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference.
Iger also announced that the app is expected to launch in late 2019, and will feature exclusive original content including four to five new TV series and three to four films, adding incentive for subscribers.
“We’re going to launch big, and we’re going to launch hot," Iger said.
One thing Iger did not reveal: just how much this service will set us back in subscription fees each month, though he did promise will hear more in the "months ahead."
For a lot of fans, this confirms their worst fears about the future of subscription streaming services. Many consumers have already abandoned their cable and satellite packages in favor of a diet of streaming only, but the ongoing expansion of the streaming market is creating a tangled web of fees and payment structures that might end up even more expensive than the best cable packages. It's a growing bubble that may be reaching a bursting point in the coming years.
This is Disney we're talking about, though, which means we're not just dealing with another TV network attempting to entice viewers with a streaming platform. This isn't a few original series and a handful of films from the last five years or so. This is 500 movies, 7,000 episodes of television, short films, and new original programming to top it all off. It'll be interesting to see how well this launch really goes.