Disney to test its power with new streaming service


Disney’s new streaming service will test Marvel’s power, the reach of the “Star Wars” galaxy and the magic of animated classics spanning more than 80 years, coupled with the new-found bulk provided by its acquisition of Fox Entertainment assets.

The studio will play show-and-tell with investors on Thursday, amid what promises to be a banner year for Disney (DIS) at the box office — thanks to “Avengers,” “Toy Story” and “Star Wars” sequels, as well as a new version of “The Lion King” — and a major theme-park expansion with the opening of Star Wars Land sure to lengthen queue lines this spring.
Still, beyond those can’t-miss projects, much of the intrigue surrounding the Mouse House’s future revolves around its plans to introduce a streaming service this year, Disney+, as the major studios seek to fortify their positions against the challenge posed by Netflix (NFLX) as well as tech giants like Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG) and most recently Apple (AAPL) in the content space.
Absorbing Fox — which has created its own layer of drama within the entertainment industry — has left Disney uniquely positioned to mount such an effort. The deal strengthened what was already the entertainment industry’s most enviable array of brands, with Fox’s National Geographic among the announced Disney+ elements. (Disclosure: My wife works for a division of Disney.)