Disney launches its own subscription service in the UK
James R | On 22, Oct 2015
Disney is launching its own subscription service in the UK.
Called DisneyLife, the app will offer unlimited Disney movies and TV shows to subscribers for £9.99 a month. The move marks a big shift in the streaming market: Disney is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, media giant to skip third parties and offer content directly to consumers.
The possibility of a standalone Disney service has been rumoured for some time, although the House of Mouse is not cutting its ties with other broadcast and streaming options. Indeed, only last week Disney signed an extension of its deal with Sky in the UK to offer Disney movies exclusively on subscription service NOW for a year before they arrive on other platforms.
The deal with Sky includes the entire Star Wars saga, which will not be included on DisneyLife. Marvel titles will not be available either, confirms the Financial Times. Whether the exclusive window for NOW will mean that Disney titles are also withheld from DisneyLife for an initial 12-month period is not yet clear – we will confirm this as soon as we can – but Disney will still not be short of titles. The app not only has all of the Disney classic films familiar to adults and kids alike, but also the TV shows that have become popular through the Disney Channel, such as the High School Musical franchise.
Subscribers will be able to download content for watching online, with titles available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.
As well as the complete Pixar catalogue and older films, DisneyLife will also be borrowing a leaf from Hopster and Amazon’s books, by bundling its movies with multimedia content, such as books and music – an important step in boosting the value of the service, which already costs more than both Netflix UK and Amazon Prime. With both offering a selection of Disney content, the question will be whether users will be prepared to stump up the cash for a month’s worth of unlimited Disney viewing, instead of paying out a smaller fee for a wider variety of entertainment. Indeed, one of the reasons for Disney not launching the service in the US at present is because of the sheer number of deals made with US cable, satellite and streaming companies.
Disney, though, is confident that its catalogue will connect with customers. Indeed, the company is certainly not lacking in brand awareness.
“This is the future, in many respects,” Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said in an official statement. “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.”
The service will be available on Android and iOS devices from November, with the aim to roll out the platform to other European markets. It will be compatible with both Airplay and Chromecast, meaning that Chromecast and Apple TV users will be able to watch titles on the big screen as well as on their phones, tablets and computers.