Australia's streaming services are waiting with bated breath as the days tick down toward Disney+'s release in Australia. The sheer content offering has already wowed Australians and given it's all available for a reasonable $8 per month, it's going to be tough to beat.
But for many of us who are already signed up to one or more services, what we really want to know is whether content will be purged by Disney's cold vice. Foxtel has confirmed to Lifehacker Australia what exactly is going to happen when the entertainment megalith heads down under with its new service. Here's everything you need to know.
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.
Why can't other streaming services also have Disney content?
First things first, let's get the obvious question out of the way — why does Disney+'s entrance mean a content purge for other streaming services? The simple answer is licencing agreements, which are seldom made public. When a content distributor like HBO or Disney, prior to its streaming service announcement, doesn't have a product presence in a certain market, like Australia, it makes deals with local providers to distribute the content. In some cases, these deals are exclusive in order to entice viewers to choose one service over another.
While HBO Go exists in the United States, it's yet to launch in Australia so HBO content, like Game of Thrones, is exclusively shown through Foxtel. The same went for Stan with its Disney content after a deal was made in December 2018.
It's expected once Disney+ launches in Australia, any deals in place to distribute content by Disney and some (if not all) of its subsidiaries will be brought back under its new service.
What sort of content does Disney own?
While we usually identify Disney content by the classics such as The Lion King or Aladdin, the conglomerate owns a whole lot more. For example, the Star Wars and Marvel series fall under the Disney banner but it also acquired the whole of 20th Century Fox in March 2019.
This means the entire Simpsons catalogue, Deadpool, Titanic, X-Men and its upcoming spin-off, The New Mutants, are all now property of Disney. But it also means all of Fox's subsidiaries, like FX, are too. Some of those titles on Foxtel include Mayans M.C., American Horror Story, American Crime Story and even Donald Glover's Atlanta.
So, what's staying on Foxtel?
Lifehacker Australia reached out to Foxtel to see what it had to say about what's staying and what's going and a spokesperson clarified what'll happen.
"Foxtel will continue to broadcast the popular kids’ channels Disney and Disney Jnr as well as provide On Demand kids content from these Disney channels to watch either on the iQ set-top-box, Foxtel Now, or with the mobile app Foxtel GO," the spokesperson confirmed. But the Disney Movie channel will also be unavailable.
"Disney’s first release and classic movies will continue to be available in Foxtel STORE including the Box Office hit of the year The Lion King, as well as Aladdin, and Toy Story 4, the much-loved Finding Nemo and Frozen, as well as classics Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty & the Beast, and many more.
"As part of Foxtel's partnership with Disney, we will continue to screen new and returning series from its Freeform young adult catalogue with titles such as Siren, Runaways, and Good Trouble. Foxtel also will continue to be the exclusive home in Australia of Disney’s newly acquired FX studio, which this year has produced hits including the Emmy-Award winning Fosse/Verdon, and Ryan Murphy’s Pose and American Crime Story. In 2020, FX will deliver to Foxtel Cate Blanchett’s new drama series, Mrs America and the highly anticipated event series, Shogun, based on the critically acclaimed novel by James Clavell."
These changes are set to become live 7 November, according to MediaWeek.
But as always, deals and agreements are malleable and things could change in the future, for better or for worse. It's good to know that, for now anyway, Foxtel Now won't be stripped bare. What will happen with Stan and Netflix remains to be seen.
Australia's streaming market is about to get a whole lot more crowded. While each service isn't that expensive individually, once you bundle up all the options, it gets completely ridiculous. For anyone wanting a piece of all the exclusive content, that's very bad news. In the interest of public service journalism, we decided to crunch the numbers for you to better understand what the future of streaming is going to cost you. (Spoiler: It's a lot.)