Disney spent roughly $10 – $15 million for advertising time in the Super Bowl. Did they waste it? Maybe. This week also got new details on what fans can expect from Disney’s new streaming service (hint: Star Wars), and we found out how much the ESPN service will cost.And the first quarter results are in and the Disney parks are carrying the company. How long can that last? We talk about it in the podcast at the end of this article.
What To Expect From Disney’s Streaming Service
Well, it won’t include Avengers: Infinity War. That’s according to a new report from What’s On Netflix — the fan site that tracks what’s on Netflix. The last Marvel movie that will make it to the service is Black Panther. (Listen to our interview with someone who went to the Hollywood Premiere of Black Panther below).
Meanwhile, Deadline got an early scoop on what will actually be on the service. The new service won’t contain any R-rated material, which Disney will push towards Hulu. Disney wants to create four or five original movies and television series in the first year, according to the report. Deadline also mentions specific projects that are already being developed for the service, including Don Quixote, Lady and the Tramp; The Paper Magician; Stargirl, and Togo. Two projects — Magic Camp and Noelle — were previously headed for the big screen but now appear to be on their way to the streaming service.
ESPN Add-On for $4.99
Disney also announced that its new ESPN streaming service will give fans access for just $4.99 per month. It won’t have any of the traditional ESPN programming (like SportsCenter), but it will give users access to some live sports. That $4.99 price tag seems low until you consider that customers need to be “traditional” ESPN subscribers in order to get the service.
For now, it seems like Disney is just sticking its toe into streaming while preserving the number of subscribers to its traditional media networks. I’m not sure that strategy can work in the long term. It seems like Netflix develops more original content in a single month than Disney plans to do in that first year. However, if Disney puts the full force of its vault behind the service, it won’t need a ton of original content to stay afloat. We’ll see what Disney actually launches soon.
A Super Waste of Money??
It is kind of weird to imply that Disney wasted its money by launching a trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story. I have been one of the fans loudly wondered if Disney was going to delay the movie. However, Disney put its cards on the table in the Super Bowl and doubled down with a full trailer on Good Morning America the next day (see below).
I’m not exactly sure what to make of the movie at this point. After seeing the long-awaited teaser, my excitement level hasn’t changed. And that’s a problem.
Studios use the Super Bowl as a way to get the word out about a movie and build excitement. Solo appears to have missed the mark with Venom, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and Deadpool gaining more views on the studios’ official YouTube channels. Lucasfilm has spent a lot of time not advertising Solo, so they had to do something at the Super Bowl. I just thought it might be a little more effective.
Too Much Star Wars?
There is a possibility that fans are just a little “Star Wars-ed out.” I’m not sure fans have entirely got over the hangover The Last Jedi and I’m sure people have heard of the problems surrounding the film. Even so, Lucasfilm is putting more eggs in the Star Wars basket. The company just announced David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will control a new trilogy of Star Wars films that are different than Rian Johnson’s trilogy. Weiss and Benioff are the masterminds behind the hit TV show Game of Thrones. That trilogy will also be separate from the Star Wars television series Lucasfilm is working on. Whether you hate Star Wars or love it, this increase in Star Wars has nothing to do with fans.
Disney is positioning Lucasfilm to run like Marvel. With movies, comics, television shows, streaming series, toys and more, Marvel operates an entire superhero economy 24/7. For Lucasfilm, the revenue from Star Wars tends to be more impressive but less stable. By creating more Star Wars opportunities, Disney will try to normalize the amount of revenue it receives from Star Wars. If a film underperforms, it hurts less if there are several other ways Disney can get revenue from Lucasfilm.
Theme Parks To The Rescue
Theme parks are killing it for Disney. On its first quarter call, the theme parks segment was the only one to rise in double digits. Revenue rose 13% to hit nearly $5.2 billion, accounting for more than a third of total revenue. Disney’s theme parks business has historically operated with lower margins than its cable networks, but that wasn’t the case this time.
Disney has nickel-and-dimed its way to record profits in the theme parks and that continues to show up in the quarterly reports. But I wonder how long it will take for Disney’s cost to outpace its value.
To hear more about this and all of our storiesIs, listen to the episode below
Robin Williams Effect
A new study showed that there was an increase in suicides after the death of Robin Williams. I promised to include this on the show so here it is. If you need help, please take the time to talk to someone.