In its second-quarter earnings, Disney topped expectations on both revenue and earnings, with shares wavering between slight gains and losses following the release of the report; they were down slightly in pre-market trading on Thursday. Significantly, the company pulled back the curtain more on what investors can expect when Disney+ goes live in November of this year.
"We're very pleased with our Q2 results and thrilled with the record-breaking success of Avengers: Endgame, which is now the second-highest grossing film of all time and will stream exclusively on Disney+ starting December 11th," said Bob Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers."
Disney first revealed its plans for Disney+ on Apr. 14, in a detailed rollout that was cheered by investors. The service launches on Nov. 11 and will be priced at $6.99 per month.
Disney's plans to add Avengers: Endgame to the service, just one month after launch, reaffirms what many see as the unique competitive advantage of Disney+: Disney's deep bench of intellectual property, which includes content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and other popular franchises.
On an earnings call with analysts, Iger also discussed Disney's newly "platform-agnostic" view of launching content, whether it be big-budget films or television series.
"If you watched Avengers: Endgame, there were a lot of clues in that film about movies that may be coming," Iger said, also touching on various "intricately linked" story lines that may be turned into TV series or movies for the Disney+ platform.
"There are many, many different directions we can go," he added. "We'll make big films, of course, but those stories will also live on the Disney+ platform."
Disney shares are up 22.4% year to date.