Disney Reimagines The Pay TV Bundle

Disney’s big entry into the streaming world doesn’t mean the end of the traditional pay TV “bundle.” We refer to legacy cable, satellite, and telco pay TV products.

Disney may be playing both sides of the fence.

Disney is launching its streaming video platform Disney+ at just $6.99/month -- about half the price of Netflix, now around $12.99 a month.

Bob Iger, chairman/CEO of Disney, speaking to CNBC, said: “We are being distributed on platforms that were created many, many years ago. In today’s world, I don’t think the consumer really wants to buy 150 to 200 channels of programming for a fairly significant price. They are not interested in many of those channels, and in some cases, they can’t find them.”

However, Disney isn’t leaving anyone behind.

The company will be offering a “bundle” of its own -- one that contains a much bigger swath of programming, including all its digital platforms: Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. The latter contains diverse programming from Disney and many other TV media companies.



This trio of services will come at a discounted price, which Disney has not disclosed at press time.

Disney may be reimagining what a modern digital bundle of TV networks/platforms can be. Iger doesn’t believe it should shun consumers who are happy with current big packages of TV programming. “If consumers want it that way, we’ll give it to them that way.”

This will come with easy access to those services, with one password, he says. Ease is a key word; consumers don’t want to construct their own pay TV package.

Remember this in the context of the now kicked-to-the-curb industry TV Everywhere, an effort that wasn’t easy for consumers to access or understand.

That industry idea looked to tie future digital platforms -- OTT and otherwise -- with current traditional cable, satellite, and telco TV bundles, those high-priced $80 to $120 services.

In order to get those digital platforms, you needed to be a cable subscriber. But consumers saw through that nonsense.

Why did TV Everywhere even occur? Legacy media companies did not want to forgo still-dominant TV revenues at the expense of developing digital TV platforms.

But times are changing -- not just with Walt Disney. While recently announcing its own plans for a new, wide-ranging, ad-supported digital TV/OTT platform, NBCU executives put the the kibosh on TV Everywhere, talking about its difficulties.

Do we now give credit to what consumers have long wanted -- a true "a la carte" TV network/platform? It seems the natural evolution, given the high-priced, too-many-channels TV services.

Yes. But we may want a full meal -- at prix-fixe dinner prices — at times.

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