Everything Disney Announced in Streaming at Disney Investor Day 2020: Disney Plus, Hulu, ESPN Plus, & Star
In a presentation that was nearly an hour longer than Avengers: Endgame, Disney unveiled the latest updates to their streaming businesses. The event covered everything from a subscriber update, new features, new partnerships, a price hike, to a slew of new content.
During the event, Disney revealed that as of December 2nd, the company had 137 global streaming subscriptions including 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers, 38.8 million Hulu subscribers, and 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers.
After launching November 2019, Disney+ had 26.5 million subscribers at the end of 2019, 50 million as of April, 60 million as of August, and nearly 74 million at the end of September. Disney says that 70% of their subscribers (~60 million) are outside of India (where Disney+ Hotstar is a much lower cost).
With the success of the Disney Bundle, Hulu and ESPN+ have also seen massive growth this year.
Hulu has reached 38.8 million subscribers as of December, up from 36.6 million in September, 32.1 million in March, and 30.4 million at the end of 2019. Hulu + Live TV has grown from 3.2 million to 4.3 million subscribers over that same period.
ESPN+ which has seen success with UFC, has grown nearly 5x since March 2019 when it had just 2.2 million subscribers. Their current 11.5 million subscribers is up from 10.3 million in September, 7.9 million in March, and 6.6 million at the end of 2019.
Disney announced that Disney+ would increase the monthly price to $7.99/month (a $1 increase) on March 26, 2021. They will also be increasing the annual price to $79.99 per year (currently $69.99), while the Disney Bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ will be priced at $13.99 per month (currently $12.99).
Continental Europe would see an increase of €2, becoming €8.99. Other regions would see a similar increase.
Part of the price increase was justified as accommodating the influx of additional content on Disney+ and bundling of Star in select markets.
Earlier this year, Disney announced that they would be launching a general entertainment service internationally. Instead of launching it as a separate service, “Star” will be launched as the sixth brand tile within the Disney+ app on February 23rd, 2021.
Star will feature entertainment movies, television, documentaries, and more, along with Star-branded new exclusive originals and local productions being created for the service.
Since it will now include not that might not be suited for kids, they will add the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles and add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content.
Instead of including Star within the Disney+ app in Latin America, they will be launching a separate streaming service called Star+ which will feature both general entertainment and live sports.
The service will be the exclusive streaming home for general entertainment TV series and movies from The Walt Disney Company’s content studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, Touchstone, and more, and the home for streaming live sports from ESPN.
They expect to have 32 original series by the end of its first year and expand with locally developed and produced content.
In terms of sports, depending on the market, they will feature nearly 500 live events per month and 10,000 live sports events per year – including soccer and Grand Slam tennis.
It is expected to cost ~$7.50 a month or ~$9 a month when bundled with Disney+.
During the presentation, Hulu’s President Kelly Campbell shared that the company plans to add a direct integration with ESPN+ early next year. That means customers will be able to purchase and watch live sports available on ESPN+ without leaving the Hulu app.
Separately, Disney announced that they would be adding Disney+ and ESPN+ to Xfinity X1 and Flex devices.
Existing subscribers will be able to log-in via X1 and Flex, while new customers will have the sign-up for the services through Xfinity. Xfinity subscribers will also be able to access linear ESPN stations (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, and more) through the ESPN App on the platform.
Disney will also now directly market a Disney Bundle that includes Hulu (No Ads) for ~$18.99 a month
Disney said they will be releasing their film Raya and the Last Dragon on Disney+ the same day it hits theaters. The film is slated for debut in March 2021. Like Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon will be available on Disney Plus Premier Access for $29.99.
With movie theaters shuttered across the country, major media companies have been forced to bring some of their films to streaming. Hamilton, Mulan and Soul are among films that were on the Disney theatrical slate that have had to be moved to Disney+.
By 2024, Disney+ alone is targeting to release more than 100 titles per year and expects to spend over $8B a year on content for the service. To do that, they plan to have 10 series from Marvel and Star Wars, 15 series and 15 features from Disney and Pixar over the next few years.
Click here for a full list of titles coming to Disney+ over the next few years.
Lucas Arts announced that they have two new series coming from the Mandalorian era: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, a series featuring the fan favorite character Ahsoka Tano. They also shared that Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor.
Other titles they announced Star Wars: Vision an original series of animated short films that celebrates the Star Wars galaxy through the best Japanese anime creators.
In early development are two projects: Lando and The Acolyte.
In Lando, Disney will bring back the galaxy’s favorite scoundrel, Lando Calrissian. The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.
During the event, Disney finally revealed that Falcon and the Winter Solider will debut on March 19, 2021. In May 2021, Loki will join the service, while What If? will debut in Summer 2021, and Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye in late-2021.
Series still to come are She-Hulk and Moon Knight, which are expected in 2022.
They also announced new series Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars, a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and selection of shorts called I Am Groot
Disney announced Pixar’s first-ever long-form animated series Win or Lose, which debuts exclusively on Disney+ in Fall 2023.
The company also shared that Inside Pixar would return for more episodes, as well as a new Pixar shorts Pixar Popcorn, as well as new series Dug Days (based on Up) and Cars.
Disney announced plans for Hocus Pocus 2, reboots of Three Men and a Baby with Zac Efron and Cheaper by the Dozen with Kenya Barris and Gabrielle Union, and a new Sister Act film starring Whoopi Goldberg.
They will also be creating a new Chip ‘N Dale: Rescue Rangers, a hybrid live action-animated film starring John Mulaney and Andy Samberg.
Films that were originally slated for theaters – Pinocchio, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks; Peter Pan & Wendy, starring Jude Law as Captain Hook and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell; and Disenchanted, with Amy Adams returning as Giselle will now instead go to Disney+.
Despite speculation that more of their film slate will be coming to Disney+, they still plan to release films like Cruella and Jungle Cruise first in theaters.
On the animated front, Disney+ will bring new series Baymax (based on Big Hero 6), Zootopia+, Tiana, and Moana: The Series, as well as Iwájú, which will be produced in collaboration with the Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali.
Disney+ has four live action shows coming in 2021: The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Big Shot, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and Turner & Hooch.
However, they also have major titles currently in the works: Beauty and the Beast (working title), starring Luke Evans and Josh Gad with new music composed by Alan Menken; and Swiss Family Robinson, which is a reimagining of the classic from Ron Moore and Jon M. Chu. The studio is also developing Percy Jackson and the Olympians based on the bestselling book series.
National Geographic revealed its Disney+ slate including Limitless With Chris Hemsworth, Welcome to Earth (working title) featuring Will Smith, and a fourth season of series Genius, which will profile Martin Luther King, Jr.
They will also debut Cousteau, along with a new documentary series Secrets of the Whales, A Real Bug’s Life, and America The Beautiful.
Hulu and Star
After ending their E! series, the Kardashian Jenners will be bringing a new set of series to Hulu and internationally to Star. The series will also premiere Only Murders in the Building, The Dropout, Dopesick, along with a slate of FX Originals.
Hulu has also renewed The Handmaid’s Tale for a fifth season ahead of their fourth season debut.
After announcing a new 10-year agreement that will see SEC football come to ESPN in 2024, ahead of the deal select games will come to ESPN+ in 2021.
They will also be debuting a reimagined SportsNation in January, along with a new opinion show from Stephan A. Smith called Stephen A’s World.