Dis­ney to take on Net­flix with TV spin-offs of its hit films

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Wil Crisp

WALT Dis­ney has re­vealed that its planned tele­vi­sion stream­ing ser­vice is go­ing to be called Dis­ney+ and con­firmed that it would be show­ing tele­vi­sion shows spun off from the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse.

Bob Iger, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in an earn­ings call that a TV series about the Mar­vel char­ac­ter Loki is in de­vel­op­ment for the ser­vice, fea­tur­ing the ac­tor Tom Hid­dle­ston.

There will also be TV shows based on the Star Wars fran­chise and other Dis­ney movies in­clud­ing Mon­sters Inc and High School Mu­si­cal.

The planned fam­ily-ori­ented stream­ing ser­vice is go­ing to be a di­rect com­peti­tor to Net­flix, the stream­ing su­per­power, which said last month that it had 135m sub­scribers pay­ing monthly fees.

Be­gin­ning in 2019, all of Dis­ney’s movies will be re­moved from Net­flix as the two com­pa­nies pre­pare to com­pete for sub­scribers. To help it bulk up its web-based pro­gram­ming ahead of the loom­ing face-off, Dis­ney is buy­ing 21st Cen­tury Fox’s en­ter­tain­ment as­sets in a $71.3bn (£54bn) deal.

The ac­qui­si­tion, which in­cludes Mar­vel’s X-Men and Avengers fran­chises, was ap­proved by Euro­pean Union au­thor­i­ties ear­lier this month.

Ahead of the earn­ings call, Dis­ney re­ported a record an­nual profit of $12.6bn. Fourth quar­ter earn­ings beat an­a­lyst es­ti­mates, with the stu­dio-en­ter­tain­ment di­vi­sion and theme park unit driv­ing profit growth. Films in­clud­ing Ant-Man and the Wasp and In­cred­i­bles 2 helped to more than dou­ble film earn­ings dur­ing the quar­ter. The Cal­i­for­nia-based firm’s theme parks and re­sorts ben­e­fited from a busy sum­mer sea­son and saw profit rise by 11pc.

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