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Media/Telecom

Disney Previews Its Netflix Competitor

Disney is undercutting Netflix aggressively on price. The entertainment giant revealed Thursday it will price its upcoming streaming service, Disney+, at $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Netflix, in contrast, costs between $8.99 and $15.99 a month. The news came at the end of a long-anticipated investor presentation by Disney executives about its upcoming streaming plans. The central piece of this is Disney+, to be released at the end of the year in the U.S. and roll out around the world gradually.

The show began with a lengthy promotional reel of all the movies and TV shows—a catalogue recently enlarged by its acquisition 21st Century Fox’s studio. It also previewed some of the original series that will be on the service. But in terms of news, there wasn’t much. The company announced it was likely going to offer a bundle of Disney+ with other assets it owns or controls like Hulu and ESPN+. It said it will allow people to download movies to watch them offline, a feature that will be a major attraction for users but also will hurt its home video business. All its theatrical releases will be made exclusive to Disney+ after their theatrical and home video windows.

Taken together the presentation showed that Disney is putting the full force of the company behind Disney+. And the company is projecting it will have 60 million to 90 million subscribers by 2024. The big question is whether it can take the next step and get the huge number of subscribers it needs—some analysts estimate as many as 170 million—to make up for the revenue it is giving up in licensing and home video.

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