The big picture: Investors expected Disney to report significant growth in terms of revenue after its recent successes at the box office, which it did -- but costs were also high after acquiring 21st Century Fox and investing heavily in streaming services. The company is scrambling to adapt to industry disruption from Amazon, Netflix and others, so it is betting big on a subscription package that offers a variety of content for cord-cutters.
During today's investor call, Disney announced a new bundle that will include all three of its streaming services -- Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ -- and will become available when Disney+ launches on November 12. The combination will be cheaper than Netflix's premium tier which is $13.99 per month and Amazon Prime Video's $12.99 per month.
Taken separately, ESPN+ is $4.99 per month, Hulu is $5.99 per month, and Disney+ will give you access to all Pixar, Disney, Marvel and Star Wars content for $6.99 per month. If you're interested in all three, the bundle makes sense, as you'll save $5. CEO Bob Iger told investors the three services are "three legs of a stool", and that Disney+ is "the most important product the company has launched in my tenure."
Disney said it will also add several original shows and other exclusive content like movies, documentaries. That said, it hasn't said anything about international availability for the new subscription bundle, which is especially important for ESPN+ and Hulu that have traditionally been restricted to a few regions.
In a press release, Iger said “the positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers."
It's worth noting that Disney did say its streaming services will be available through other distributors like Apple and Amazon, but licensing deals are still being negotiated. The company knows it needs to adapt in response to an exodus of pay TV subscribers and that it needs to be on every digital content platform if it wants to achieve enough scale to sustain its increased spending.
The overall strategy of diving head-first into providing a mix of general entertainment, sports and family-friendly content at a low price is certainly a good idea when you consider the fact that consumers are overwhelmed by the number of streaming services out there. Disney also doesn't really have much of a choice but to appeal to them in the best way they can, as its traditional businesses are hardly keeping it afloat.