Chief Executive Bob Iger said today the company would develop a live-action Star Wars television series for the Disney-branded service. The studio also is working on TV adaptations of Pixar’s Monsters Inc., a fresh look at the High School Musical franchise, and an original series from Marvel.
That service, when it launches in 2019, will offer thousands of hours of Disney films, as well as television library content. Disney’s exclusive programming strategy is similar to the one CBS used when it offered the nostalgic catnip of a new Star Trek franchise to attract subscribers to its subscription streaming service CBS All Access. Warner Bros drew from its DC Entertainment universe to develop an original live-action series Titans for its digital service.
Iger invested much of the Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings call today with his eyes focused on the future, and how he plans to position the Burbank entertainment giant to thrive in an on-demand entertainment world.
Disney’s new sports streaming service, ESPN Plus, will offer a combination of live programming, scores, highlights and — for an extra fee — access to thousands of additional sporting events, Iger said.
At a time when ESPN’s subscriber numbers sag, Iger was bullish with investors about sports’ fans appetite for live events delivered via an app to mobile devices, streamed into homes. A two-week Nielsen study that measured live sports consumption via over-the-top services, and outside of the home, revealed a 29% primetime ratings bump.
“We think the trends that we’re seeing – albeit they’re still not lengthy trends – are giving us some reason to feel good about the business,” Iger said.
Google’s YouTube recognizes the potential, too. That’s why it promoted the YouTube TV streaming service throughout the 2017 World Series.