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State of the Screens

Disney and the Future of TV

By April 25, 2019No Comments

Smart take (as always) from Stratechery on Disney+ and the future of TV.

Quote from Ben Thompson — Author/Founder @ Stratechery:
“This is why I have argued that the traditional cable bundle will slowly become the de facto sports bundle; I would add news as well. This is the exact bet that Rupert Murdoch made with Fox; remember that Disney didn’t buy the entire company: Murdoch kept the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Group, and the Fox Sports Media Group. What these assets have in common is that they are perfectly aligned with the traditional TV model: news and sports are best live and drive both advertising and affiliate fees.”

Reasons that sports are unique:
1) People will pay more for access to sports
2) Best consumed live
3) Natural breaks in the action are ideal for advertising

The future of TV by content type and leader (w/ business model):
1) Stories & Entertainment — Netflix (subscription)
2) Brands & Family — Disney (subscription + Disney flywheel)
3) News & Sports — Disney, Fox, and Turner (advertising & affiliate fees)
4) Information & Education — YouTube (advertising)
5) Niche & Left Behind — HBO, CBS, Showtime, etc. (subscription, ads, and content sales)

Key details for Disney+ at launch:
1) $6.99/month ($69.99 annually w/ discount)
2) Advertising free (for now)
3) 500 movies (100 recent releases; 400 library titles)
4) 7,500 episodes of current shows
5) 60–90M subscribers by 2024
6) Profitable by 2024

Disney+ ≠ Netflix killer: There is enough room for both and each offers more value than their low monthly costs (< $16/month). A large share of Disney+ subscribers will also subscribe to Netflix and vice versa.

Interesting idea: Disney+ could be packaged with Hulu (ad-supported) for ≈ $15/month or roughly the price of Netflix or HBO Now.

Disney+ subscriber estimates by year (YoY growth) according to JPMorgan Chase:
2020P — 8M
2021P — 18M (↑ 125%)
4) 2022P — 30M (↑ 67%)
5) 2023P — 45M (↑ 50%)
6) 2024P — 60M (↑ 33%)

Podcast: Is It Worth Subscribing to Disney’s New Streaming Service?

Who owns everything in media today?

More #1: How Iger Broke Disney’s Netflix Addiction

More #2: Disney’s Next Big Remake: Itself

More #3: All of the shows and films Disney is planning for its Disney+ streaming service

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.