Disney+ is due to roll out its ad-supported tier in late 2022, and the company’s competitors are taking aim during this week’s upfronts in New York City.
Deadline reported yesterday:
In today’s traditional doubleheader opening of the upfronts in New York, Fox and NBCUniversal execs took digs at the “paywall” strategy of Netflix and Disney, in the first of many salvos expected this week.
Kicking off Fox’s mostly virtual event, ad sales chief Marianne Gambelli took note of the industry’s shift to subscription streaming in recent years. “Everybody is chasing subscribers” except for Fox, she marveled. Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks took it a step further, telling the ad-buying audience, “”We know that without you, we would just be Netflix.”
FOX entertainment chief Charlie Collier took a simultaneous dig at struggling former streaming king Netflix and The Walt Disney Company, “Now, Netflix and Disney are coming” to ad-supported streaming, he said. “And what that means is that they can’t afford to build their paywall without your money.”
Recently, during Disney’s 2022 Q2 earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the company will continue to raise prices for Disney+ subscribers who do not opt for the cheaper ad-based tier.
Chapek shared that with the ad tier allowing the company to reach “an even more broad audience, ” he feels confident that they can “increase content investment” and “give us the ability to increase our price” without cheapening the platform’s value proposition.
The sitting CEO went on to state:
“The additive nature of an ad-driven tier [will] allow us to keep the price lower [for those Disney+ subscribers]. So, we believe that we can sort of move-up and cascade up our net price over time, given our tremendous value that we started with and the price-value relationship of the new content.”
Disney+ is the streaming home of nearly all of Disney’s subsidiaries, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm/Star Wars, and Pixar Animation Studios.
Since it debuted in 2019, notably, an entire catalog of Star Wars and MCU movies, including the nine-film Skywalker Saga and the entire Avengers Infinity Saga, have been added to the popular platform, which has exceeded all subscriber expectations.
The Mandalorian — which introduced Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”) and bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to the Star Wars universe — quickly skyrocketed up the charts as the cornerstone of the Disney+ service.
Both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars have released numerous Disney+ Original series in addition to their feature films. Star Wars, for instance, has given fans two seasons of The Mandalorian, two animated series — Star Wars: Visions and Dave Filoni’s Star Wars: The Bad Batch — and, now, Mandalorian spinoff The Book of Boba Fett.
Another live-action installment, Obi-Wan Kenobi, is due to drop its first two episodes on May 27, 2022.
Marvel President Kevin Feige’s team has also been hard at work, putting out five series — WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye — in 2021 alone. A six-episode season of Moon Knight kicked off the MCU’s 2022 slate, which also includes Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk.
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