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Bob Iger on why Disney+ is key to the 'mass migration' away from TV

Julia La Roche

As Disney’s (DIS) streaming service enters a crowded playing field, CEO Bob Iger said recently that the new platform is "the most important thing" he’s done during his decades-long stretch at ABC and Disney, and key to the future of entertainment.

During a late October interview with Diane Sawyer at the Economic Club of New York, Iger highlighted the “mass migration” and “steady march” away from traditional, linear television toward on-demand and digital platforms available on any device.

On Tuesday, Disney launched its streaming service Disney+, which features content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. The service is available for about $7 per month, or $70 per year, before any bundling packages or discounts.

The entertainment behemoth expects to garner 20 million to 30 million subscriptions in the U.S. by 2024, or 20% to 30% of the U.S. households, according to a recent UBS research note.

In his fireside chat, Iger said that the company is “mindful of not only the imperative to go in this direction but mindful of the competition.”

In terms of the streaming wars — which is pitting the House of Mickey against players like Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) — Iger sees plenty of room to compete.

"I think there's room in this new space for a number of entrants," Iger said in response to a question from Sawyer, who pointed out that media mogul Barry Diller once said that he didn't think it's "rational" to try to compete with Netflix.

"We are competing for consumers’ time and money is what we are doing, and we're doing so with a very differentiated product," Iger responded.

"Although there are a number of entrants in the space no one has the product that we have and the range that we have, and thus, we are not only confident in terms of doing it, we believe we will set ourselves apart both in the consumers’ minds and from a business perspective,” the CEO said.

During the conversation, Iger emphasized that the company today is “a collection of very, very high-quality well-known in-demand brands,” and that is the anchor of Disney+.

In other words, he said, Disney’s new platform is positioning itself as a “branded-play” that will “leverage the connection” those brands, everything from Star Wars to Marvel, has with consumers.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter. Send tips to laroche@verizonmedia.com.

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