Disney+ = Disney + Pixar + Marvel + Star Wars + National Geographic
Each branded studio complements each other, aligned around four quadrant, family entertainment but diversified from the Disney and Pixar focused homegrown Disney Life service trialed in the UK (2016). Disney+ is the culmination of the Bob Iger franchise era acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox and BamTech.
Iger, Disney CEO since 2005, describes it as a “treasure trove of long-lasting valuable content…The Disney+ platform is being built on that foundation, one that no other content or technology company can rival” (1) Embodying his broader focus “to create great content and to distribute it in innovative ways” (ibid), that combines the three strategies during the Iger era: Creativity, technology and global expansion.
These are now encapsulated in the new corporate strategy “to deliver the highest quality branded entertainment franchises on all relevant platforms, employing the most effective technology in service of our customers around the world.” (2)
This continues Disney’s longstanding focus on strategies of synergy, globalization, franchising as well as exploiting new technology and revenue streams, that underpinned the company’s growth into a global media conglomerate (3). Disney continues renewing, extending and exploiting its Intellectual Property, yet it has also pivoted into a direct-to-consumer company, integrating its content streaming and content warehousing, its franchises and branded studios, into its proprietary and exclusive global platform (an expansive Walled Garden, keeping customers within the Disney conglomerate ecosystem).
The platform builds on the proven and scalable Bamtech streamlined interface, piloted with ESPN+ following Disney’s acquisition of a majority stake in the Major League Baseball technology company, “to leverage the strength of our great brands.” (Iger, 4)
And Disney+ is all about mutual expansion, from the exclusivised flagship The Mandalorian series, to “original movies, TV shows, short-form content and other Disney-branded exclusives” (4), to providing new opportunities to expand the Star Wars Universe, and for the Marvel Cinematic Universe “it is growing it, it is expanding it”.(5)
Disney+ transposes their franchise and brand focus, as a reliable means of “holding onto viewers, of ensuring that they watched in Disney’s preferred (i.e.. fully monetized [and now fully data driven and integrated] settings.” (6)
1. ‘Disney Investor Day webcast’ (11 April 2019) https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/the-walt-disney-companys-2019-investor-...
2. David Collis and Ashley Hartman (2018) ‘Reawakening the Magic: Bob Iger and the Walt Disney Company’, Harvard Business Review, 6 December: 5.
3. See my ‘Disneyizing Home Entertainment Distribution’ in Wroot, Jonathan & Andy Willis (2017) (eds.) DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption, Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
4. ‘The Walt Disney Company to Acquire Majority Ownership of BAMTech’ (2017) https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/walt-disney-company-acquire-majority-ow... August.
5. ‘Marvel Studios Disney+ Panel Reveal Highlights - D23 2019’ (2019) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcrOGAcA-48
6. Kyra Hunting and Jonathan Gray, ‘Disney Junior: Imagining Industrial Intertextuality’ in Johnson, Derek (2018) From Networks to Netflix, Oxford and New York: Routledge: 197.