Disney's investor calls have become the Apple Events of the streaming world; people watch livestreams in the hope of gleaning some new information about the company's direction for the next financial quarter. Previous quarterly earnings calls announcements include:
Soul's debut on Disney+ (Q4 2020)
Mulan as a Premier Access title on Disney+ (Q3 2020)
The launch of a "general entertainment platform" in the form of STAR as opposed to Hulu (Q3 2020)
The launch of Disney+Hotstar (Q1 2020)
Additional market launches (Various)
So, with Disney's Q1 2021 earnings call set to be streamed on 11 February 2021, what can we expect?
An Update on Black Widow
I think it's very clear that the landscape will not be nearly as ready for a blockbuster as we thought/hoped. I think Disney will make the call to release Black Widow on Disney+ as a Premier Access title, a strategy they're not necessarily shying away from. I would even go as far as to say that, at least until 2022, they're going to put all of their Marvel movies on as Premier Access titles. I can't see them delaying the release because, as of 15 January 2021, Phase 4 has officially kicked off.
Prediction: Black Widow's release date stays the same (7 May 2021), with a Legends episode premiering on 30 April 2021.
Wildcard Prediction: The entire Disney theatrical slate for 2021 gets shifted to Premier Access/simultaneous release a la HBO Max.
Service Launch Dates
At the Investor Day, Disney made several announcements concerning the wider release of Disney+ in its global rollout plan. I could see them giving concrete dates for regions like Hong Kong, South Korea, and C/E Europe.
Prediction: Hong Kong and South Korea will get the service in early July 2021, and C/E Europe will get the service in June.
At the Investor Day, Disney also announced that there would be a greater expansion in the EMEA market. Whilst their plans for HK/SK/CEE are within those markets, there is still one huge one which doesn't have Disney+: Africa.
Prediction: Disney will announce that the service will launch in African markets which don't already have the output deal with OSN (i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa) in this year.
If they haven't done already, and I predict they will have by this point anyway, Disney will most likely give some concrete information as to what types of programming people can expect from Disney+STAR, namely: will the service employ a next-day airing of its US shows like Grey's, Family Guy and The Simpsons? At a previous earnings call, Disney announced the launch of their FX on Hulu platform; could there be a literal translation of that to its STAR brand? FX on STAR, anyone?
What do you think? Do you expect anything groundbreaking at this earnings call? What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter! Follow me and Josh on Twitter (@StreamingBuffer) and (@JoshM_Jones) respectively!
Until then, happy streaming!