Disney's upcoming streaming service, Disney+, is set to be a huge game changer - how could it not be? We're talking about the world's largest entertainment conglomerate entering the increasingly crowded foray of streaming. For existing subscribers, the smart solution is to bundle packages together. Here's how that could work in Australia.
In the United States, Disney announced it was offering customers a bundle with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $US13 a month (around $19.50). That's an impressive deal considering the amount of quality content on hand. But with its Australian arrival date unclear, we wanted to look into whether a bundle could work here too.
The emergence of several new streaming services is bad news for Netflix, Stan and other incumbent streaming platforms. And as traditional TV networks slowly get their ducks in a row, we might be at the beginning of the end of having one streaming powerhouse that delivers most of what we want.
When's Disney+ coming to Australia?
This is the question Australians have been wanting to know for months and unfortunately, it's not one we can answer with certainty right now. Disney+'s launch outside of the US is a cone of silence, which suggests the entertainment juggernaut is probably waiting to see how well it fares in the US before launching it to other markets.
We asked Disney Australia which confirmed it still doesn't have a launch date for Australia or New Zealand.
Right now, Disney+ is due to launch in the United States in November but a date has not yet been released. We can gather from this a Disney+ launch is three months off, at bare minimum, but it might not arrive over here for a year or two. It definitely seems to be on the cards for Australia though: seeing as a a landing page and menu exists on the Australian Disney page.
How will content be affected in Australia?
While once upon a time Netflix hosted a lot of Disney content, including joint Marvel-Netflix productions like Jessica Jones, Stan has since become the home of Disney and Marvel content in Australia.
There are, however, unsubstantiated reports this contract is due to finish up in October 2019 and what happens after that is anyone's guess. It could suggest Disney's considering launching Disney+ around that time but this is unlikely given November is the pencilled in arrival time for the US.
Another theory is Disney content dries up on Stan in October and is intentionally not put on any other streaming service for a few months, driving up demand and anticipation, with an early 2020 launch date planned for Australia. This is how Disney's used to operate their infamous movie vault after all.
Stan were asked by Lifehacker Australia to shed some light about what a Disney+ arrival might look like for their content but declined to provide comment.
Would Disney team up with any local streaming sites?
Australia doesn't get a separate Hulu service like those in the US but most of Hulu's shows are offered through Stan. Hulu was once majority-owned by 21st Century Fox, which became a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company who is now the major shareholder. It's important to note ESPN+ is also owned by the Walt Disney company, which is why the bundle was so simple for them to offer.
In Australia, things are obviously a little different. Seeing as Disney already has some content deals with Stan and Foxtel Now, it's certainly possible a bundle could come up to quash both titles' competitors but it appears more beneficial to Stan than Disney.
It's unlikely, however, that Disney+ would shack up with Netflix or Amazon Prime Video as they're global competitors in other markets. Same would likely go for Foxtel, owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has since sold 21st Century Fox to The Walt Disney Company.
Disney Australia told us no news but suggested they were able to move fast if opportunities with local streaming services arose.
"The platform has been built to be global, which gives us the ability to examine opportunities and move fast, if/when/where it makes sense in the future," a Disney spokesperson told us over email.
While it's all speculation for now, the worst possible scenario is sadly the most likely for Australians. A bundle-less entrance by the Disney+ service into the Australian market forcing consumers to consider whether signing up for one streaming service over another. It's not any better than the pre-streaming environment but with the lines blurring between production and distribution companies and everyone simultaneously wanting a slice of the consumer pie.
With Disney now owning the largest library of content in the world through a series of deals and acquisitions, the company has put together all the building blocks it needs to launch a massive streaming service. That service, Disney+, now has a release date and we have some idea about pricing and available content. Here's everything we know.