HMH wasn't the only publisher to announce a subscription service yesterday. Disney has announced plans to launch a Netflix-like in the UK and Europe.
The service, DisneyLife, will cost £10 and feature the complete Pixar catalog as well as classic Disney movies. It will be available on iOS and Android, and include ebooks from well-known Disney brands.
“This is the future, in many respects,” said Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive. “We’re seeing more and more opportunities to reach consumers directly and not through middlemen, and we’re seeing consumers wanting product in different ways.”
Disney will roll out the service across Europe next year, with the aim of launching in France, Spain, Italy and Germany. There are no plans to launch the service in the U.S., but Iger would not rule it out. “The technology platform that this sits on is scalable to the U.S. and is scalable to our other brands,” he said. Netflix has pay TV window rights to Disney theatrical releases for the U.S., kicking in at the end of next year, and Canada, starting with 2015 theatrical releases.
New content will be added to DisneyLife as it becomes available, but that won't include either Star Wars or Marvel. However, Iger did indicate that Star Wars and Marvel subscription services could be launched in the future.
Variety reports that Iger saw apps, and not linear television, as the future. “There’s a general sense that the world is going in this direction,” he said. “There will be multichannel TV and we will be part of it, but the app experience offers many more layers (and) much more richness in content than a channel, where one program follows another program.”
Iger is half right; the future is less apps than it is streaming content over the internet, and that is a trend we could see coming ever since Youtube blew up so big.
And Disney is well-positioned to take advantage. DisneyLife's £10 a month cost is far higher than the HMH service I panned yesterday, but it also represents a better value. Disney has so many brands and large enough back catalog that it can easily make this service worth it all on its own (it's like Penguin Random House in that respect).