USA | Dec 10, 2020

What’s next for Hollywood? Spotlight turns to Disney’s streaming plans

/ Our Today

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A man looks at his phone as he passes by a screen advertising Walt Disney’s streaming service Disney+ in New York City, U.S., November 12, 2019. (File Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

What will Disney do? Hollywood is asking that question a week after AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros upended the film business by saying it would debut all of its 2021 movies on its HBO Max streaming service on the same day they hit theatres.

At a Thursday afternoon presentation to investors, Walt Disney Co executives are set to unveil what is next for Disney+, the Netflix Inc competitor it launched a year ago, and the company’s other streaming outlets.

Disney said in October it was restructuring the company to put more emphasis on streaming over traditional linear television to better meet customer demands. In addition to Disney+, the company offers Hulu and ESPN+, and next year will offer a streaming platform overseas under the Star brand.

Cinema chains including AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc, Cineworld Group and Cinemark Holdings Inc will be watching to see if Disney, the box-office leader last year, plans big changes to the slate of movies it has set for theaters.

Disney and other studios have already moved some films to streaming because the coronavirus pandemic has left many cinemas closed.

A Baby Yoda toy is pictured during a ‘Star Wars’ advance product showcase in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 20, 2020. (File Photo: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Hollywood trade publications have reported that Disney has considered shifting the release of live-action movies including Pinocchio, which stars Tom Hanks as Geppetto, as well as Peter Pan & Wendy, to Disney+ from theatres.

Media analyst Michael Nathanson said he expected Disney to announce significant increases in spending on streaming TV shows and movies, and to provide updated subscriber targets and profit goals.

A Disney spokesman had no comment ahead of the online presentation.

Disney+ sign-ups have already surpassed the company’s earlier projections.

In April 2019, the company had forecast that Disney+ would attract between 60 million and 90 million customers around the world by fiscal 2024. Last month, the company said it had already hit 74 million as of early October.

Disney+ has been boosted by the popularity of The Mandalorian TV series, a ‘Star Wars’ spinoff featuring the character popularly known as Baby Yoda.


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