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Disney soars as streaming service makes more magic for the kingdom

Thomas Barrabi

The Walt Disney Company, just five days away from the launch of its long-awaited streaming service, saw its stock soar after hours following a strong third-quarter earnings report and word that is has landed another big name platform to distribute Disney+ next week.

CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Amazon will become the 11th platform to offer the streaming service joining the likes of Apple TV,  Android mobile, Android TV, Chromecast, desktop web browsers, iPad (iPadOS), iPhone (iOS), PlayStation 4, Roku streaming players, Roku TV and Xbox One.

Disney has invested significant resources into its upcoming streaming service, which will directly compete with Netflix, Apple TV+ and other offerings in the crowded sector. Set to debut on Nov. 12, Disney+ will cost $6.99 per month for $69.99 for a full-year subscription.

The media and entertainment giant reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.07, topping the 95 cents expected according to Refinitiv data. Quarterly revenue was $19.1 billion, also beating Wall Street’s expectations.

“Our solid results in the fourth quarter reflect the ongoing strength of our brands and businesses,” Disney CEO and Chairman Robert Iger said in a statement. “We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience, and we’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”

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Disney shares were up more than four percent in after-hours trading on the strong results.

The service features a slew of original content series, as well as a significant library of Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar films. In a call with analysts Thursday afternoon, Iger said the service would offer more than 500 movies and more than 7,500 episodes of television shows at launch, including 10 original movies, specials and series. Iger promised more originals are on the way.

“Within a year, there will be more than 45 series, specials and movies," he said.

In mid-October, analysts at UBS polled 1,000 consumers and 86 percent were aware of the new service. Of them, 44 percent said they were “likely” to subscribe. Disney executives are anticipating Disney between 60 million to 90 million subscribers at launch.

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