Disney says that it’s looking at other ways to work with services like Dish’s Sling TV, which offers unbundled content to broadband subscribers independent of a cable or satellite TV subscription. That’s not the best part, though: Disney’s planning around this possibility includes Marvel and/or Star Wars-specific offerings, which could mean that all my dreams really do come true and I can be happy for the rest of my life.
Sling TV’s basic $20 monthly package already includes 11 channels from Disney, and Iger’s comments on an analyst call today (via Deadline) indicate that the company is already thinking hard about the possibility of expanding its involvement. Disney is still approaching this in a tentative fashion, Iger cautions; the entertainment giant knows full well that while direct streaming is a likely future front-runner for providing content, reaching the most consumers still involves going with traditional broadcast and premium television delivery mechanisms.
Sling TV, and other services like it, do however offer a route to a younger viewership that might need additional incentive to buy-in to cable subscriptions, Iger says. And I suspect that saying that now is really just a way of saying ‘we’ll go where the audience is,’ with a hedge about converting OTT subscribers to bundle believers thrown in to keep current partners happy.
Reading between the lines, it seems like if Disney sees big value in turning some of its most resonant brands into dedicated offerings that superfans can bite off without getting hooked with a big bill (and without having to resort to piracy), they’re gearing up to be ready to go that route. And with the amount of content Disney has either airing, in production or in the pipeline for both Marvel (between cinematic universe and TV) and Star Wars (animated series’, spin-offs and new main franchise films), it can easily flesh out a dedicated channel for either property.
For now, given Iger’s hemming and hawing, the odds are against seeing any such offering in the near future. But never tell me the odds.