In Streaming Wars, Disney Reaches Beyond Kids And Families

Disney’s marketing force is reaching beyond its traditional family audience to send a message that its $7-a-month subscription service Disney+ offers something for all ages. The service debuted on Tuesday in the United States, Canada and The Netherlands.

Disney’s Massive Streaming Gamble Has Arrived. It May Change The TV Industry Forever

Disney has spent more than $3 billion on technology and content in an ambitious bid to take on Netflix at its own game.

Disney Streaming Debuts With Hit Brands

The Simpsons, ‘Cinderella and several movies from the Star Wars and Marvel universes will share a streaming home today as Disney Plus debuts. Subscribers will initially get more than 500 movies and 7,500 TV episodes for their $7 a month. That’s expected to grow to 620 movies and 10,000 episodes in five years, as existing deals with rival streaming services expire.

Iger Takes Gloves Off For Disney Streaming Debut

Disney+ looks like the future of the house of mouse. It could also define the CEO’s legacy when he retires in 2021.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Disney Tops Wall Street’s 4Q Estimates

Five days before its highly-anticipated launch of its streaming service, Disney reported fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday that beat Wall Street expectations. For the three months ending on Sept. 30, representing the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, Disney reported $19.1 billion in revenue, narrowly beating analyst estimates of $19.04 billion. Disney also posted earnings per share of $1.07, which excluded certain items that affected comparability to prior quarters, which surpassed projections of $0.95 EPS.

Analyst: Verizon Deal To Give Disney+ 9M Subs

The deal that the Walt Disney Co. cut with Verizon to give Disney+ free to some Verizon mobile and broadband customers will result in nine million subscribers for the new streaming service in its first year, according to an estimate by analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research.

Disney Boss Bob Iger Defends $66M Pay

The conversation today between Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones and Walt Disney Chairman-CEO Bob Iger and filmmaker Jon Favreau was largely about the upcoming Disney+ streaming series Star Wars: The Mandalorian, but toward the end of their chat, Jones put the Mouse boss in the hot seat over his $66 million compensation last year, as well as his thoughts on a wealth tax that’s being pitched by Democratic presidential candidates.

Disney, Iger Bet Big On Over The Top

Disney+ leads a wave of billion-dollar Netflix competitors that are transforming the entertainment industry and launching a new age of ambition (and anxiety) as CEO Bob Iger, Kevin Mayer and team explain their all-in strategy: “We’re locked and loaded.”

Disney Nets To Stop Accepting Netflix Ads

Disney will no longer accept ads from the streaming giant Netflix on its entertainment networks, changing its advertising policy as the company makes a major push into the streaming space. The move comes as media and entertainment companies reevaluate their competitors in the wake of a rapidly changing media environment.

The Slow-Burning Success Of Disney’s Bob Iger

Hollywood’s nicest C.E.O. on the great family dramas of Hollywood — and why he, too, is disturbed by Twitter.

RETRANS

Disney, AT&T Reach Retrans Agreement

The Walt Disney Co. reached an agreement in principle Friday evening on a new retransmission consent and carriage deal with AT&T that would  keep networks including ABC, ESPN and the Disney Channel glowing in homes with DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Disney Seeks To End Backend Profits

Walt Disney Co., which became a dominant player in television production with its acquisition of Fox assets earlier this year, is pushing to transform how TV show creators are compensated for their work via syndication. As of this summer, Disney is pressing TV producers and other profit participants in its shows to accept a new formula offering profits sooner in exchange for complete control of any future licensing revenue

Iger Leaves Apple’s Board As Showdown Looms

Apple disclosed Iger’s departure in a regulatory filing Friday, but his resignation became effective last Tuesday. That’s the same day that Apple announced its long-awaited video streaming service will debut Nov. 1 and cost only $5 per month, less than half the price of Netflix’s most popular plan.

Disney, DirecTV In Dispute Over ABC, ESPN

If the companies are unable to reach a new agreement, DirecTV subscribers could lose access to ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Freeform.

Disney Layoffs Hit 60 In Media Distribution

In the further wake of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment portfolio, Disney has laid off nearly 60 employees within its Media Distribution division, affecting those within both Disney and Fox.

Disney, Dish Extend Talks, Avoid Blackout

The Walt Disney Co. and Dish Network appear to have avoided a blackout of the FX and National Geographic channels that could have started at midnight ET Tuesday. Sources indicated that the deadline was postponed and that negotiations have become productive.

Disney To Dish Subs: FX, Nat Geo Blackout Possible

Disney has started advising Dish subscribers of a looming contract deadline with FX and National Geographic, which could go dark on the satellite system. The two companies had previously negotiated past a contract deadline in July, citing progress in the talks as the signals remained active on the satellite system. The current deadline is 9 p.m. PT today.

ESPN+ May Be Key To Disney’s $13 Bundle

Some 42% of millennials say they’d be likely to subscribe to the offering of Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, a Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult survey finds.

Disney To Launch 25 Stores Inside Target

Walt Disney Co. and Target Corp. announced a collaboration on Sunday that will open 25 Disney stores inside select Target locations nationwide on Oct. 4, with plans for 40 additional sites by October next year.

‘Simpsons’ Producers Talk Disney Spinoffs

The Simpsons has never shied away from lampooning Disney over the years, but maybe that’s no longer the case. Homer, Marge and co. are of course now part of the Disney family and made their first appearance at the Mouse House’s D23 Expo convention, where the show’s producers were asked plenty of questions about what the relocation as part of the Disney-Fox merger means for the series.

Charter, Disney To Crack Down On Cable Password Sharing

RETRANS

Disney, Charter Reach Multiyear Carriage Deal

Charter and Disney have reached a multiyear carriage agreement, avoiding a blackout of networks including ESPN and ABC. Charter has agreed to carry the ACC Network, a new network in the ESPN family, as part of the deal.

Disney Closes Upfront Business, Up 5% In Volume

Walt Disney finished upfront advertising for all its TV and digital advertising brands — ABC, Disney Channels Worldwide, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic Networks — with a 5% gain in dollar volume, according to executives.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Disney Misses Quarterly Earnings Estimates

CEO Bob Iger said one of the biggest issues affecting earnings was underperformance at the Fox movie and TV studio. Tuesday’s results, the first complete quarter with Fox’s businesses included, missed Wall Street’s expectations. Disney’s shares fell 3% in aftermarket trading.

RETRANS

Disney, Charter Miss Deadline, But Still Talking

Disney and Charter are still discussing a new multiyear carriage agreement, blowing past Friday’s 12:01 a.m. deadline, as the two sides try to reach a deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook Wants Netflix, Disney On New Device

Facebook has approached Netflix, Disney and other media companies about putting their streaming services on a new Facebook device for making video calls from televisions, The Information has learned. The device, which Facebook is aiming to release this fall, will use the same video-calling technology that is in Facebook’s camera-equipped smart speaker, called Portal.

Disney, Charter Talking About Carriage Fees

Disney is set to renew its multiyear carriage agreement with Charter, the second-largest U.S. pay TV provider, at the beginning of August, according to people familiar with the matter. So far, there are no signs the two sides will have a testy public renegotiation.

Disney Shutting Down FX Plus

The FX Plus subscription service is shutting down — another casualty of Disney’s acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox’s assets, and a move coming as FX’s content is set to get funneled into the Disney-controlled Hulu service.

Diller: Disney Has ‘Best Chance’ Against Netflix

Netflix has “won the game” as far as streaming, according to media mogul Barry Diller, but among its soon-to-launch rivals, he said Disney has “the best chance” to apply pressure. Diller made the comments during a CNBC interview Wednesday in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he’s attending Allen & Co.’s annual retreat.

Dem Hopefuls Take Aim At Sinclair RSN Deal

A trio of Democratic Senators/presidential candidates — Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders — has asked both the FCC and Justice Department to take a hard look at Sinclair’s purchase of Disney’s (formerly Fox’s) 21 regional sports networks (RSNs), saying they are worried both about Sinclaircombining the RSNs with its TV stations to raise the price of carriage for the latter, and about the “danger” of Sinclair’s “partisan political” programming getting a wider audience.

‘Bones’ EP Adds New Fox-Disney Fraud Claim

Less than two months after a California judge eviscerated the unprecedented $179 million award that Bones executive producers and stars won in their long-running profits participation legal clash with 21st Century Fox, Barry Josephson today added fraud to his claims against the now Disney-owned entity.

How Landgraf Built One Of TV’s Hottest Brands

In four interviews conducted in May and June, John Landgraf spoke at length with Variety about his tenure at FX and the company’s future in the Disney universe. At the core of those conversations is Landgraf’s creative philosophy, which emphasizes serving the writer’s vision without necessarily being deferential.

Fox, Disney Headed For Win In Netflix Fight

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejects Netflix’s view that Fox’s employment contracts are tainted with illegality.

Disney May Dump Georgia Over Abortion Law

Walt Disney Co-Chief Executive Bob Iger says it would be “very difficult” for the media company to keep filming in Georgia if a new abortion law takes effect because many people will not want to work in the state. Disney has filmed blockbuster movies in Georgia such as Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame, and it would be a blow to the state’s efforts to create production jobs if the entertainment giant stopped filming there.

Disney Lays Off Fox Marketing, PR Execs

Just under two months after the Walt Disney Co. officially took control of the majority of Fox’s film and TV assets in a seismic $71.3 billion deal, another round of layoffs are slicing through Burbank and on Pico Boulevard.

UPFRONT NEWS ANALYSIS

ABC’s Upfront Gets Buried In Disney TV Excess

ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks and National Geographic come together to illustrate the exhausting smorgasbord of Walt Disney Television.

Disney Gains Full Control Of Hulu

Disney and Comcast announced today that Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu, effective immediately. In return, Disney and Comcast entered into a “put/call” agree regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership interest in Hulu. The deal puts a minimum future valuation on Hulu of $27.5 billion.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Disney Earnings Surpass Wall Street Expectations

The Walt Disney Co. reported financial results on Wednesday for the company’s last quarter as a singular studio entity. The second-quarter earnings report, which comes on the heels of Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s film and TV entertainment assets, was above Wall Street expectations.

Sinclair Wins Disney RSNs In $10.6B Deal

Byron Allen becomes an equity and content partner in the new RSN holding company, Diamond Sports Group. The RSNs includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams, and 12 National Hockey League  teams.

Liz Meriwether Inks New Overall Deal With Disney’s 20th TV