After two years of considerable success, along with a few questions, Disney+ went on a content offensive Friday, showcasing dozens of upcoming and newly appearing (on the service) films and series plus tie-ins across theme parks and consumer products, a Disney+ segment on GMA and a special one-day Disney+ category on Jeopardy to mark Disney+ Day, the streamer’s two-year anniversary.
“Two years ago, Disney+ exploded onto the scene, growing at an unprecedented rate and bringing high quality compelling films and series to audiences from around world,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, on a video presentation introducing a day meant to be “a global celebration with our millions of subscribers.” It added 25 new pieces of content to the service today including Shang-Chi and Jungle Cruise.
Disney+ Day targets the streamer’s 118 million subs and untapped potential audience, and Daniel cut to division heads and talent for a tour of first looks, trailers, exclusive clips and a slate of new content from marquee brands Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star (in international markets) — from the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor to a Predator prequel.
Premiere dates, artwork, trailers and logos were all being rolled out on Disney+’s social media Friday morning.
Last year, after turning 1, Disney+ got a formal hours-long virtual Investor Day. Today was not that — no Bobs (Chapek or Iger) and no Wall Street presence. In fact, Disney+ Day arrived at moment when — after sending Disney stock skyward on streaming last year — investors have back-stepped amid questions over the breadth of the Disney+ offering. Concerns were heightened this week when the company Wednesday reported softer than expected subscriber growth for the September quarter.
The stock took a big 8% hit Thursday and is off another 1.5% today at around $159, a tepid response by Wall Streeters fretting that continued programming around core brands, as great as they are, may limit Disney+ appeal compared with a broader service like Netflix.
Streamers have been challenged to grow as fast coming out of a pandemic when millions were signing up to watch at home. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said this week the company is sticking to long-term Disney+ growth targets with fresh content like projects announced today and a significant increase in titles from around the world. Daniel said Disney is planning 340 local series and films to premier globally in coming years.
Flexing its muscle as a diversified media giant, Disney said theme park landmarks from Cinderella Castle in Tokyo to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Paris, to icons at Tokyo Disney Resort, Walt Disney World and Disneyland were illuminated in blue for Disney+ Day. Subscribers were invited to Walt Disney World and Disneyland 30 minutes before regular opening for “special character encounters” and photo opportunities.
Subscribers can also get free shipping at shopDisney through November 14, including new customizable products from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel. Disney collectors can enjoy select $0.99 cent eBooks from Disney Publishing Worldwide through November 17 and a limited set of NFTs, digital collectibles from iconic Disney stories, which will include a code for several free months of Disney+ for new subscribers.
New and eligible returning subscribers can sign up for a month of Disney+ for $1, through November 14.
Daniel called Disney+ Day “just the beginning” in “creating unparalleled experiences for our fans across the entire company. We are building on our momentum and bringing exceptional new films and series to the platform. The type of incomparable storytelling that keeps existing audiences engaged and brings new viewers into the Disney family. It’s been an amazing two years for Disney+ and we are still just getting started.”