Disney wants to undercut Netflix's price ahead of 2019's streaming war

Posted November 11, 2017

Deadline reports the company is developing new TV shows for their upcoming digital streaming service.

Disney chief however Bob Iger revealed yesterday that that a new Star Wars trilogy is in the works, which will be directed by Rian Johnson.

First announced back in August, Disney's streaming service "represents a big strategic shift for the company".

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News that there will be a whole new "Star Wars" trilogy sent the internet rippling, and the films are no doubt expected to be blockbusters unless audiences start to feel Lucasfilm fatigue - which they haven't, so far.

Mr. Iger also revealed that an ESPN digital offering scheduled for next year will debut in the spring and be called ESPN Plus. Plus, it's highly unlikely Disney would be willing to roll the dice on R-rated superhero fare like Deadpool and Logan, so a little diversity obviously isn't a bad thing here. Parent company Disney has become a financial and cultural juggernaut because of the delicate balancing act it performs with its many subsidiary companies and its vast portfolio of properties.

Disney's CEO confirmed in September 2017 that the service will have up to five original series, three or four exclusive Disney movies, and Disney's entire TV catalogue.

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Revenue from Disney's cable business, which includes ESPN and Disney Channel, fell marginally to $3.95 billion in the fourth quarter, while analysts on average were expecting a rise to $4.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Disney faced other headwinds this year, including a light release schedule of just eight films from its movie division, a drop from past years, and the ongoing challenge of finding consumer products to match the bonanzas generated by Frozen and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney cited rate increases for sports programming, lower ad revenues and higher losses from its investments in BAMTech and Hulu, but affiliate revenues did rise. It'll have a lot of high quality because of the brands and the franchises that will be on it that we've talked about. Performance improved at Disneyland in California, Disneyland Paris and Shanghai Disney Resort, the company said, as well at its cruise ships and vacation club. Disney shares are up almost 7% so far this week, mostly on the reported Fox talks.

On the call Thursday, executives declined to comment on the Fox reports.

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