Disney plans new 'Star Wars,' Marvel series for new streaming service

Disney is announcing plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer entertainment streaming service - and removing its films from would-be rival Netflix - in its third quarter earnings release.

A live-action Star Wars TV series is among the projects in the works for Walt Disney's direct-to-consumer subscription streaming video service, set to launch in late 2019, according to company CEO Robert Iger. 

Also planned: new Marvel, Pixar Monster and High School Musical series, he said.

The news helped Walt Disney shares reverse a slide in extended trading Thursday.

In addition to offering the newest Disney Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars feature films after they play in theaters, the service will also have four or five exclusive feature films each year, Iger said.

Describing the as-yet-unnamed service, Iger compared it to Disney's theme parks.

"When you go in then you see Marvel and Star Wars and Pixar, for instance. So it's a collection -- it will be a collection of just those brands," he said Thursday on a conference call with investment analysts.

In August, Iger announced the 2019 Disney streaming service and that its new ESPN-branded service would arrive in early 2018. That service will be called ESPN Plus, he said Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Disney-owned Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson, writer/director of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters Dec. 15), will create a new Star Wars movie trilogy.

Disney shares (DIS) were up more than 2.5% Friday to $105.38. Shares initially dipped 3% after the company Thursday reported mixed results for the July-September quarter. But the stock price rose to nearly 1% two hours after the market's close at $103.57.

Hurricane Irma had an effect on Disney's domestic resort and cruise business, the company said. And higher costs for sports programming cut into media networks' revenue.

Net income for the quarter declined 1% to $1.75 billion, but results matched expectations of analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Revenue of $12.78 billion was down 3% and missed expectations of $13.3 billion..

Overall, Disney's studio revenue fell 21% to $1.43 billion, because Cars 3 couldn't match 2016's Finding Dory.

Disney's media networks, its biggest segment, saw revenue decline 3% to $5.5 billion. Iger did not address reports that ESPN was planning layoffs of about 100 employees, as reported by several media outlets -- and ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys declined comment on the report.

Iger said Disney has "never lost our bullishness about ESPN. The brand is strong, the quality of their programming is strong. They're always opportunities to improve."

Iger and Disney officials also sidestepped any comments on news reports from earlier in the week that Disney had been in talks with Fox to buy some of its assets including the movie studio.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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