Disney+ sets Australian launch date and pricing

The Walt Disney Co will roll out its direct-to-consumer streaming service in Australia on November 19, one week after the US launch.

Disney+ will cost $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year, undercutting Netflix, which charges $9.99 a month for the standard feed and $13.95 for HD, and Stan which is $10 basic (one screen), $14 standard (three screens) and $17 for premium (four, HD).

At launch the platform will offer around 300 movies and 7,500 TV episodes drawn from the company’s vast array of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel Studios’ series and movies as well as classic animated shows and its recently acquired 21st Century Fox library.

The line-up includes the Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, which stars Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal as a lone Mandalorian gunfighter operating in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

Among the Marvel productions will be The Falcon and the Winter Solider featuring Anthony Mackie as Falcon and Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier; Hawkeye starring Jeremy Renner; animated series What If…, featuring alternate realities in the Marvel universe; WandaVision with Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as The Vision; and Loki starring Tom Hiddleston.

It will also feature 30 seasons of The Simpsons and will be the exclusive streaming home for films released by Walt Disney Studios in 2019 and beyond, including Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Last week Disney chair Bob Iger revealed the studio is re-imagining classic films including Home Alone and Night At The Museum for the service.

Customers can subscribe to Disney+ directly or via in-app purchases and it will be available on a slew of platforms including Apple, Google, Microsoft’s Xbox One, Sony via Android TVs and the Playstation 4 and Roku.

One Australian screen industry executive expects Disney’s service to sign at least one million subscribers in the first year.

Last month Foxtel added Netflix to its platform for subscribers who have iQ4 set top boxes and, later, the iQ3, and CEO Patrick Delany has implied he would be happy to do a deal with Disney+.

Nine Entertainment’s Stan experienced a sharp jump in subscribers after a one-year licensing deal with Disney, which expires before the launch of Disney+.

For some months Nine has been discussing some kind of arrangement with Disney, which has yet to pan out. It’s not clear whether that could mean Stan bundling Disney+ with its service or Disney becoming an equity investor in Stan, despite the fact Disney usually eschews joint ventures outside the US.

The streaming wars are set to intensify with the upcoming launches of Apple TV and direct-to-consumer services from WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal, all aimed at blunting the momentum of Netflix and capitalizing on the overall shift in viewing habits.

In a presentation to investors, Disney projected Disney+ will reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers globally by 2024, most of them outside the US.