Disney CEO Bob Iger is confident heading into the launch of Disney+ next week.
On a call with shareholders on Thursday, Iger reiterated the Disney+ launch plan and gave some additional details on its overall direct-to-consumer vision. Shares of Disney (DIS - Get Report) were up 5.2% in after-hours trading after the entertainment giant topped expectations on both earnings and revenue.
Due to go live on Nov. 12, Disney+ will serve as a linchpin of Disney's DTC strategy and an exclusive streaming home for a range of Disney-owned brands, such as Pixar, Marvel, National Geographic and Star Wars. And its strength in family-friendly content and vast library of films and shows could make it a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
"Launch big and scale fast" is how Disney plans to attack the streaming market, Iger told investors on the call.
Iger said that Disney ran tests of the service in the Netherlands, providing some users access to library content through its app. Disney also offered pre-sales of Disney+ to Disney fans in its launch markets. While Iger declined to specify how many customers had signed up for the service, he described the reception as "extremely positive."
"Consumers were drawn to the marketing messages we had out there," Iger said. "Clearly the price was met with great enthusiasm, not just the single month price, but what we were really selling was the 3-year subscription," which will reduce churn. Disney+ will cost $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, and Disney also offered pre-sale deals that knocked down the price to as little as $141 for a 3-year term. It's also offering a $12.99 per month bundle that includes Disney+, ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu.
Iger also discussed how the test version was received in the Netherlands, noting that the broad-based interest in Disney+ content across many different brands "bodes well" for its prospects.
"We had a good sense for how people were using it, and what they were using it for...the demographic was far broader than many people think," he said.
Other launch partners include Verizon (VZ - Get Report) , which is offering a free year of Disney+ to customers who sign up for certain wireless or home Internet plans. Disney+ will also be available on a range of platforms and televisions, including Apple (AAPL - Get Report) , Google (GOOGL - Get Report) , Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) , Sony (SNE - Get Report) , Roku (ROKU - Get Report) , Samsung and LG.
At launch, Disney+ subscribers will have access to 500 movies, 7500 episodes of library content and several originals; by year five, that will include 620 movies, 10,000 episodes, "countless" shorts and other content and 60 original projects, Disney said. Disney+ will launch on Nov. 12 in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands, followed by Australia and New Zealand one week later. In March 2020, it will roll out in Western Europe.
Beyond Disney+, Disney is also seeking to build more value into its other streaming offerings, Hulu and ESPN+.
Iger announced on the call that in March 2020, Hulu will become the official streaming home of FX Networks, including much of its library and several originals that will run exclusively on Disney+.
He also described opportunities to expand Disney's sports capabilities in the future, through ESPN, ABC and ESPN+: "We believe we have numerous interesting opportunities to expand...our live and exclusive offerings," Iger said.