Disney Taking Aim At Netflix With Streaming Services Bundle Plan
Disney's plan to bundle Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu at $12.99 a month represents the company's strategy of "aggressively pricing" its streaming services to challenge Netflix with a "package that includes family programming, live sports and a deep library of television shows," according to Christopher Palmeri of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The bundled pricing offer will coincide with the November launch of the Disney+ service and represents a near 30% "discount to their individual prices." Disney is "betting online services will counter the loss of conventional TV viewers for flagship channels such as ESPN." With Hulu + Live TV, the company also "offers a package of 60-plus live television channels intended to compete with cable and satellite services for $44.99 a month" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/6). VARIETY's Cynthia Littleton noted Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger "disclosed that Disney is in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google to distribute Disney Plus and presumably the newly disclosed bundle on their platforms" (VARIETY.com, 8/6).
MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: DEADLINE's Dade Hayes noted the bundle pricing is "identical to the rate for the most popular Netflix subscription." The bundle will "offer a $5 discount from the cost of subscribing to the platforms individually." It also "adds a live sports element to a bundle package, which will enable cord-shavers and others re-examining their pay-TV docket one more option." Meanwhile, Iger on the company's earnings call yesterday noted ESPN+ "passed 2 million subscribers earlier this year" and has said that it is "on pace for 12 million" by '24 (DEADLINE.com, 8/6). CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin said the new bundle is a "huge, crazy win but I don't know if they can keep the price there for too long." UBS analyst John Hodulik said what viewers will see over time is that prices will "go up, but also the amount of content that goes into that package goes up, both on the Disney+ side, Hulu and really on the ESPN side as more and more sort of higher quality sports shift from a linear channel" to online. Hodulik: "Content is king" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 8/7).