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