Amid tough times for most segments of its business, Disney is doubling down on its direct-to-consumer lineup.
On its fiscal third quarter earnings call, Disney announced a new streaming offering, distributed under its Star brand, due to launch in calendar 2021, and said its long-delayed Mulan film will debut on Disney+ in September.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek described the new service as a "general entertainment offering...rooted in content we own: ABC Studios, Fox TV, FX, Free Form, 20th Century studios, and Searchlight." The new offering will be fully integrated with Disney+ in many markets, the company said.
The company described the forthcoming general entertainment offering as part of a newly "accelerated" approach to its direct-to-consumer and international segment in a challenging period for its parks, cruises and other products.
Disney is also shifting the release of at least one high-profile film, Mulan, to Disney+ as theaters remain closed in many markets.
Mulan, which has been delayed multiple times, will premiere Sept. 4 on Disney+ on a premier access basis. In most Disney+ markets, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most of Western Europe, Mulan will be available for $29.99 with some variation in price depending on market.
The film will also premiere theatrically in certain markets where theaters are open, and where Disney+ is unavailable, the company said.
Asked whether it will premiere other films on Disney+, Disney management said on the call that they consider the Mulan release a one-off, but that they will be tracking and testing how many subscribers and purchases it drives at the $29.99 price point.
The launch of Disney+ has exceeded the company's internal targets in every market so far, Chapek said with the service exceeding 60.5 million paid subscribers as of today. It ended the June quarter with 57.5 million paid subscribers.
Disney+ is due to launch in more European markets in September, in Latin America in November, and will also roll out in Indonesia as part of Hotstar in September.
"The incredible success we’ve achieved to date has made us even more confident about the future…[and] to be more aggressive in our approach," added Chapek.
For the quarter, Disney's parks, experiences and products revenue fell 85% to $983 million, media networks revenue fell 2% to $6.56 billion, and studio entertainment revenue fell 55% to $1.74 billion. Total direct-to-consumer and international revenues grew 2% to $3.97 billion.