Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

The Walt Disney Company is swooping into the Canadian market with its powerful new streaming platform Disney Plus in November, and analysts say the menu of Marvel superheroes, Pixar characters, and Disney animated classics could give viewers another reason to drop cable altogether.

The company says Disney Plus will cost $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, when the service launches on Nov. 12.

Even though the platform will not be available here as a bundle deal — in the United States, the service will be packaged at a discount with Hulu and ESPN — there’s still plenty of programming that could entice Canadian audiences.

“It just makes the household less dependent on cable-delivered video,” said Kaan Yigit, a technology analyst at Solutions Research Group.

“Some of those households will look to shave the cord — or cut the cord for that matter — over and above the intentions they might’ve had prior to Disney.”

While the Canadian streaming video market has been competitive for years, with Netflix as the dominant player and Bell Media’s Crave and Amazon Prime Video also in the mix, the arrival of Disney will be unprecedented.

On top of Marvel, Pixar and its animated library, the company owns the rights to Star Wars, as well as many TV shows on U.S. network ABC, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Lost.”

Disney also recently purchased rival Hollywood studio Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., giving them access to decades of film and TV, including action hits like “Die Hard,” and classics such as “The Sound of Music.” Add to that some of this year’s biggest movies, including “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin” and “Toy Story 4,” which are expected to eventually land on the service.

The initial slate of titles that’ll launch on Disney Plus in Canada hasn’t been announced, but the company has teased some projects in the works. It’ll update the ”Home Alone” and “Night at the Museum” franchises exclusively for the platform, as well as remake ”Lady and the Tramp.”

READ MORE: Disney, Comcast now Hulu’s only owners as AT&T exits

Disney is banking on its appeal out of the gate, and unlike many of its predecessors, Disney Plus will launch across nearly all major mobile and connected TV devices. That’ll give viewers an opportunity to sign up whether they use Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku or Sony products.

Brahm Eiley, president of consultancy firm Convergence Research, says many questions linger about how Disney Plus will look in Canada. In particular, he wonders if viewers will feel the service’s programming slate pales in comparison to the U.S.

It’s a criticism that hindered Netflix for years after it launched in Canada.

Representatives for Disney declined to answer questions about whether the Canadian service will mirror its American platform.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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