The much-anticipated Disney+ direct-to-consumer streaming service from The Walt Disney Co. will launch in the United States Nov. 12. 2019 with an ad-free model designed to compete with Netflix.

The details were revealed Thursday at the company’s Investors Day presentation that included demos and pricing options — $7 per month or $69.99 per year. The subscription rates beat both Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The Disney+ service will be available via a streaming app expected to be carried on most Smart TVs, streaming media adapters, web browsers, and mobile devices. Among platforms already on board are Sony PlayStation 4 gaming consles and Roku devices, the company said.

Movies and TV programs on the service will be available in up to and including 4K resolution, and users will have the option to download titles for viewing offline.

Disney+ is only part of the company’s ambitious direct-to-consumer strategy. It also is offering ESPN+ and Hulu, 60% of which is owned by Disney, as separate offerings, but plans are to soon offer a bundle of the various services at a savings, the company said.

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The year-old ESPN+ service already has garnered 2 million subscribers, and Disney is exploring launching it in Latin America, the company announced. Similarly, an international rollout for Hulu is now being evaluating.

Content for Disney+ will be selected from an extensive library of Disney owned movies and television programs, including many from 21st Century Fox, like the Fox-owned programming from the National Geographic Channel. Disney finalized the acquisition of much of the 21st Century Fox assets just prior to the Disney+ launch.

In addition, Fox’s popular long-running animated series The Simpsons will now call Disney+ its exclusive streaming home. Disney+ will also carry a new Monsters Inc. Series, a popular Pixar CGI animated franchise. Other popular library and franchises in the Disney stable headed for the service include: Marvel and Star Wars.

For the past several months Disney was been pulling many of its own titles and franchises from Netflix as licensing terms lapse. It is stockpiling exclusive offerings to strengthen its brand and increase the pull for the new service.

As for global plans for Disney+, the service is slated to launch in Western Europe and parts of Asia in the fourth quarter of 2019. Eastern Europe and Latin America should see it in late 2020. The company’s goal is to reach 60-90 million subscribers by the end of fiscal year 2024, and two-thirds of those are expected to come from outside of the United States.

By Greg Tarr

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