Disney to launch streaming platform in the U.K. next month, snubs U.S. for foreseeable future

disney ceo bob iger positive on hulu live tv walt
Flickr/Thomas Hawk
Beginning next month in the UK, Disney will launch its own video and audio streaming service. Called DisneyLife, the service will offer a wide variety of titles: hundreds of books, music, movies inclusive of the entire Pixar catalog and classics like Snow White and The Jungle Book, as well as thousands of Disney Channel TV episodes (but not the Star Wars series, sorry). According to the Financial Times, the service will cost £9.99 per month, substantially higher than Netflix and Amazon Instant Video’s £5.99 per month rate in the country.

“There’s a general sense that the world is going in this direction,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told the Financial Times. “There will be multichannel TV and we will be part of it, but the app experiences many more layers [and] much more richness in content than a channel, where one program follows another program.”

After its UK launch, DisneyLife plans on expanding to France, Spain, Italy, and Germany next year. It currently has no plans to bring the product to the US — where it already has content agreements with cable, satellite and streaming companies — but Iger didn’t rule out a future launch stateside. “The technology platform that this sits on is scalable to the US and is scalable to our other brands,” he said.

Notably, DisneyLife will not include films produced by Marvel or Lucasfilm’s Star Wars series. Iger did note, though, that Disney could make separate subscription streaming platforms with these titles based on the DisneyLife framework in the future. The exec didn’t explain how the new streamer will integrate offerings, like books and music, that competitors Netflix and Amazon Instant Video don’t currently offer.

The major media company’s move into launching its own streamer certainly foreshadows the fact that widespread app-based TV viewing may be coming sooner than we think. “There’s so much more texture to [the app experience], and it takes advantage of what technology is enabling these days — whereas a linear channel doesn’t,” Iger explained. “There’s nothing wrong with linear television, but that’s one of the reasons why the app experience is going to grow.”


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