Disney+ May Be Playing Catch-up, But It Plays The Long Game

Anyone looking for a little more streaming content? On Thursday, Walt Disney and its streaming businesses, highlighted by Disney+, acted like a skilled NBA player bringing his team back from after a large point deficit.

It appeared like something the dearly departed ESPN host Stuart Scott might say: “Have some!”

That’s because Disney announced an eye-opening 50 high-profile/high-powered TV series and movies from its big brands: Marvel, Star Wars and Disney/Pixar. Overall, it will ramp up to 100 shows/movies a year.

Much of this came after Disney over-delivered on its subscriber numbers for all its streaming platforms -- at 147 million now, projected to get to 230 million to 260 million in 2024.

This is the game Disney continues to play: catch up with Netflix and Amazon in direct-to-consumer streaming.

In addition to its subscription numbers, content-wise plans might be a bigger deal. Disney now says it will spend $14 billion to $16 billion on content -- a big share around streaming. It's rivals are also spending billions.



Perhaps all this is even more incredible, given that Disney+ has had a successful first year -- without a whole lot of original programming, save for notable exceptions, such as the crazy in-demand "The Mandalorian." It's also had smooth Disney-esque big picture consumer-marketing efforts, specifically its trifecta of Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ package for $12.99. (The price is rising a bit.)

On Friday, a day after Disney’s big announcement about its streaming plans, its stock shot up 13%. Someone is watching.

Still, who is going to pay for the exploding rise in streaming? Advertisers? Subscribers? Both?

Even as its mothership theme parks continue to struggle to find places where they can open -- in part or whole -- Disney seems to move forward with little drama and calm expertise.

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