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Disney+ streaming service sets November launch

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Disney announced Thursday that its video streaming service would launch in the US in November, spotlighting its blockbuster-making studios as it takes on powerhouse Netflix.

The company said that after launching in the US on November 12 at $6.99 per month, Disney+ will gradually expand internationally, starting in Europe.

Disney is among some of the biggest names in the media and tech world gearing up to move into streaming, in what could be a major challenge to market leader Netflix.

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Disney plans to make the streaming service available in all major regions of the world within two years.

The service will offer Disney’s films and TV shows, along with the library it acquired from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.

Last month Walt Disney Co. closed its $71 billion deal for the film and television assets of 21st Century Fox as the “legacy” producers controlling Hollywood seek to fend off Netflix and other streaming firms including Amazon.

Details about Disney+ were shared by executives at an annual investor day, where chief executive Bob Iger said the streaming service would combine the strengths of Disney and the assets acquired from Fox.

“The Disney+ platform is being built on that foundation, one that no other content or technology company can rival,” Iger said.

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“We knew the best approach to the market was to create great content and distribute it in innovative ways. It is that simple.”

Disney+ will combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.

Disney stressed plans to use its coveted content, and original creations to come, to differentiate itself in the increasingly competitive streaming television market.

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The entertainment colossus was arranging to get Disney+ on a broad array of smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, set-top boxes and smart televisions, according to executives.

– Big spending on shows –

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Disney will invest heavily in the new streaming service, which is not expected to become profitable until 2024, chief financial officer Christine McCarthy told investors.

The company projected that it would have from 60 million to 90 million subscribers by that time, with two-thirds of them outside the United States.

“We will be aggressive in our efforts, and we believe we will succeed,” McCarthy said.

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But John Meyer, an analyst and Transpire Ventures partner said he strongly believes Disney will not become a threat to Netflix.

“Netflix now knows what people want more than anybody,” he said.

Disney+ will launch “with a robust library of theatrical and television content” and will release more than 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials in its first year, according to the company.

Netflix and Amazon spend billions of dollars on original content for their rival streaming television services, hoping to win viewer loyalty with must-watch films or shows.

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At the same time, Google-owned YouTube has been steadily evolving from a global video sharing platform to an Internet-age television service.

With Hollywood stars galore, Apple last month unveiled its streaming video plans along with news and game subscription offerings as part of an effort to shift its focus to digital content and services to break free of its reliance on iPhone sales.

The Apple TV+ on-demand, ad-free subscription service will launch this year in 100 countries, the company said.

This year is also expected to see the launch of a streaming television service from WarnerMedia, the media-entertainment division of AT&T acquired in an $85-billion deal.

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The new entrants, with more expected, could launch a formidable challenge to Netflix, which has about 140 million paid subscribers in 190 markets, and to other services such as Amazon Prime.

Netflix is likely to feel pain, not only from intense competition, but also from the loss of content from the big libraries of Disney and Time Warner.


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Newly released emails show White House prepared to freeze Ukraine aid hours before Trump’s phone call

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White House budget officials were preparing to freeze aid to Ukraine the night before President Donald Trump's infamous July 25 phone call to the country's new president, according to newly released emails.

The Office of Management and Budget handed over nearly 200 pages of records related to the president's actions toward Ukraine to the transparency group American Oversight, and one of the heavily redacted emails from July 24 shows OMB officials shared a “Ukraine Prep Memo” with Michael Duffey, reported CNN.

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

Trump impeachment trial: 4 stories from first day spell doom for Mitch McConnell

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If the score was kept for the first day of the impeachment trial, it would show hefty losses for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As Former Special Counsel for the Department of Defense, Ryan Goodman, pointed out, four major headlines perfectly reflect the cracks in the strangle-hold McConnell has had on his party.

First, McConnell was forced to change the impeachment hearing rules. After a huge uprising by Americans demanding to be able to watch the impeachment trial during normal human hours, senators told McConnell he'd lost the votes to hold proceedings after midnight.

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‘Disease fanboy’: Internet slams NBC conservative for ‘rooting for pandemic’ to distract from Trump impeachment trial

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Hugh Hewitt is once again under fire, this time for almost appearing to be glad a deadly SARS-related virus has been diagnosed in a patient in Washington state – saying additional diagnoses will take the focus away from the Senate's historic impeachment trial. Hewitt is a conservative Washington Post columnist, radio host, MSNBC and NBC contributor, and law professor who went from being a "Never-Trumper" to all-in for President Donald Trump.

"People care much more for their health than theater," said Hewitt via Twitter, referring to Trump's impeachment trial. The SARS-related virus, known as the Wuhan coronavirus, is named for an area of China where it was first found. It "has infected more than 300 people and killed six in an outbreak that has struck China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and now the US," CNN reports.

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