Back in August, the Walt Disney Company announced it was ending its distribution deal with Netflix in order to start its own streaming service. At the time, the streaming fates of both the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe were up in the air. Would the Mouse House bring everything under one umbrella or continue to have their biggest hits available to the widest possible audiences by re-partnering with other streaming services?
Today, we have an answer. Variety reports that both IPs will move to Disney’s yet-unnamed new service. Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and Star Wars movies on this app as well,” to a group of executives and press assembled at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Thursday for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment conference. This announcement puts to rest any lingering confusion about Disney’s commitment to bringing all their brands in-house.
This new direct-to-consumer streaming strategy feels reminiscent of the Disney Channel of the 1980s. At the time, The Disney Channel was a premium channel. As with HBO or Starz today, if you wanted to watch what Disney was offering then you were going to pay extra for the privilege. The company transitioned away from this model in the late 1990s, but with the gold rush of streaming services, it appears Disney is returning to its roots. The only real question remaining is “Will people pay yet another monthly fee to watch a narrow selection television and movies?”