Disney to spend $33B next year on new shows and movies

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Disney said it plans to amp up what it spends on new movies and shows next year as it looks to unseat the world’s largest streaming service, Netflix.

The Mouse House plans to spend roughly $33 billion on new movies and shows for its streaming services, Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, starting fiscal 2022 which kicked off on Oct. 1, according to the company’s annual report filed late Wednesday.

This marks an $8 billion increase from fiscal 2021, when Disney spent approximately $25 billion on new films and series. It also means Disney is outspending top streaming service Netflix by $13 billion.

Netflix, which has roughly 214 million global subscribers compared with Disney+’s 118 million subscriber count, aims to shell out $17 billion in 2022.

New trailer for Pixar and Disneyy's Lightyear
Disney has high hopes that “Toy Story” spinoff, “Lightyear,” which is set to premiere in 2022, will bring in strong box office revenue and new consumers to Disney+.
Pixar

“The increase is driven by higher spend to support our DTC [direct-to-consumer or streaming] expansion and generally assumes no significant disruptions to production due to COVID-19,” the company wrote in the annual report.

In other words, the amped up content spend is driven by Disney’s streaming initiatives rather than any of its TV or film businesses. The company has been vocal about producing new, original movies and shows from its various studios such as Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm and Disney Pictures, for its streaming services.

n this image released by Disney Plus, Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton, left, and Phillipa Soo portrays Eliza Hamilton in a filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton."
“Hamilton” was one of Disney+’s biggest draws during the pandemic, helping it lure in new subscribers.
AP

The jump in spend comes as Disney+, which is known for hits like “Hamilton,” “The Mandalorian” and “Mulan,” has faced fierce competition from rival streamers, as well as the fact that consumers have other options for entertainment outside the home as COVID-19 vaccinations are on the rise.

In the third quarter, the service added just 2 million customers, while Netflix was able to ride the momentum of its big hit “Squid Game,” giving it 4.4 million new customers for the period for a total of 213.6 million global subscribers.

Disney is focusing on bringing new content from its studios like Pixar, LucasFilm and Marvel to its streaming services.
Disney is focusing on bringing new content from its studios like Pixar, LucasFilm and Marvel to its streaming services.
AP

Aside from Netflix, Disney faces competition from Warner Bros. Discovery, the soon-to-be merged media company that will combine Discovery, home to TLC, Food Network and Animal Planet with Warner Media, which owns HBO Max, CNN and the movie studio, Warner Bros. David Zaslav, who will helm the mega-media firm said in May that he expects to spend a whopping $20 billion on content in company’s first year.

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