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Disney+ is a streaming service operated by entertainment giant Disney. Consider it the Mouse House’s response to platforms like Netflix and Prime Video. The online service gives users access to a generous library of TV shows and movies from the Disney catalogue, as well as titles from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic.
Disney+ launched in New Zealand on 19 November 2019 and is growing with each passing month, adding new titles to its library. Highlights include original show The Mandalorian and long-running series The Simpsons, as well as several Marvel and Star Wars blockbusters. Subscriptions to Disney+ in New Zealand cost $9.99/month or $99.99 for an entire year. Read on to find more about how the service works and which content is available to stream.
Disney announced plans for its own streaming service Disney+ back in 2017. It joins an increasingly crowded marketplace, dominated by Netflix globally but with plenty of other newer competitors, including Apple TV+ and HBO Max.
Disney+ will host several new exclusive TV series including Star Wars spin-offs The Mandalorian and one about Obi-Wan Kenobi, a new take on High School Musical, as well as new Disney movies such as the live-action version of Lady and the Tramp.
Most existing Disney TV shows and movies will eventually end up on the streaming service. That means not just cartoons, but also content from the worlds of Marvel, Pixar and Fox (which Disney acquired in early 2019). Disney is also stepping up with 4K content.
Disney is investing heavily in original content for Disney+. This echoes what competitors like Netflix and Amazon are already doing. To begin, the company will rely on established brands instead of exploring new avenues, but its focus might change as time goes by.
On the TV front, Disney+ offers hours of Disney Channel programming, but also original productions made especially for the streaming service. The list features Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, which became an international hit shortly after its release. Season 2 of the sci-fi western will reportedly become available in October 2020.
Other original Disney+ TV shows include High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and Diary of a Future President. Subscribers can binge-watch 29 seasons of popular animated series The Simpsons. For lovers of everything Disney, there are docu-series available as well, like The Imagineering Story.
On the movie front, Disney+ is becoming the exclusive streaming destination for all titles under the Disney umbrella. Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, for instance, were available at launch, with The Lion King and Aladdin joining the platform in January 2020. Frozen 2 joined a few months after that. Disney didn’t stop there with the big names releasing Artemis Fowl in June and Hamilton in July 2020.
Besides, the catalogue includes hundreds of animated titles from the Disney Vault, as well as Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar films. Users can also watch Disney+ original movies like Noelle and Togo.
Disney+ has plenty of content currently in production. One of the most highly anticipated series slated to debut on the platform is a Star Wars spin-off led by the roguish spy Cassian Andor, a conflicted rebel who fights ruthlessly for the greater good.
Additionally, the Marvel universe is expanding, with several TV shows set in the universe slated for Disney+. The first will be The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, rumoured to premiere in August 2020. This will be followed by WandaVision in December and Loki in early 2021.
Other highlights to look out for include a romantic comedy based on the Love, Simon movie, an untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series and animation Monsters at Work. Subscribers should also get excited for more Marvel TV series, most notably Hawkeye, What If…, Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk.
Movies set to debut on includeMagic Camp and Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe in August 2020. Also coming to Disney+ is the live-action remake of Mulan on 4 September.
Disney+ had substantially less content at launch than Netflix currently does. In the US, it launched with 645 movies and 168 shows. New Zealand’s numbers were with 808 titles.
A subscription to Disney+ is slightly cheaper than Netflix’s Basic plan, at $9.99 a month. It includes features such as 4K which attract a premium on other streaming services. You can also pay $99.99 for a year-long subscription, which is a 16% saving on the monthly price. It’s possible that Foxtel will copy the approach it used with Netflix and offer a Foxtel and Disney+ bundle, but nothing has been announced officially on that front yet.
It seems like everyone is launching a streaming platform these days, so why is Disney so special? First off, this new platform will become the exclusive home for subscription-video-on-demand viewing of the newest live action and animated movies from Disney and Pixar from 2019 onwards. That includes highly anticipated upcoming titles like Toy Story 4, Frozen 2 and the live-action Lion King movie. Moreover, the service will feature a vast collection of library content, including Disney and Pixar movies and Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television programming.
But more importantly, Disney’s streaming service will also host content from Disney’s subsidiaries Marvel and Lucasfilm. This means that the platform will also host all the Marvel and Stars Wars movies released so far, with upcoming releases exclusive to the platform. These are without a doubt some of the most important film franchises in the world, so it’s obvious that the Force will be strong with this new streaming service, especially since geekdom is responsible for a ridiculous amount of box office income.
Additionally, Disney’s recent purchase of 21st Century Fox means Disney will take control of the popular US streaming service Hulu. In a November 2018 earnings call, Disney Chairman Bob Iger outlined the company’s plans to expand Hulu’s availability to more countries once the purchase of Fox is finalised.
As a result, Disney will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases, beginning in 2019. This means Disney titles will be on Netflix for a little while longer, so we suggest you start making your way through your to-watch list ASAP.
The same goes for Foxtel Now and Stan subscribers. For now, it’s unclear when exactly Disney’s content will be pulled from other streaming services, at least in New Zealand. There’s the possibility that Foxtel and Stan will manage to hold on to the rights for limited time blockbusters but there’s no doubt most content will be exclusive to Disney+.
With competition within the streaming market getting fiercer, content will be the major differentiator for users looking to shell out some cash for entertainment purposes. And thanks to its family friendly movies and TV shows, Disney’s platform will look appealing to all sorts of consumers, from Marvel fans to classic Disney enthusiasts.
The platform’s entire content library is available to be downloaded for offline viewing. Its biggest calling card is that its content will never disappear as it owns it all.
After originally launching without a resume or continue watching option, Disney has finally corrected the fault, adding three new features. There are also your standard features such as Kids Mode and multiple profiles.
Possibly the most interesting aspect is the ability to request shows and movies yourself to be added to the library.
So far in New Zealand, Disney+ has gone off without a hitch. Its price is phenomenal when compared to competitors. What it’s lacking in content to begin with it’s making up for in quality, with new production The Mandalorian outranking Netflix’s Stranger Things already.
Add in the fact that Disney+ will only improve as more originals and big 2020 releases make it to the platform and you have no reason not to sign up for the free 7-day trial. That way, you can decide for yourself if the service is worth it.
Image Source: Disney+ website
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