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Disney to Launch Subscription Streaming Service in U.K.

Disney chief Bob Iger: 'This is the future'

LONDON — Disney is to launch next month a subscription streaming service in the U.K., which will offer its movies, television series, books and music direct to the consumer online.

The service, DisneyLife, will make available a wide range of titles, including the complete Pixar catalog, which includes the “Toy Story” franchise, and classics such as “Snow White,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “The Jungle Book,” the Financial Times reported Wednesday. DisneyLife will cost £9.99 ($15.43) a month.

“This is the future, in many respects,” said Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive. “We’re seeing more and more opportunities to reach consumers directly and not through middlemen, and we’re seeing consumers wanting product in different ways.”

Disney will roll out the service across Europe next year, with the aim of launching in France, Spain, Italy and Germany. There are no plans to launch the service in the U.S., but Iger would not rule it out. “The technology platform that this sits on is scalable to the U.S. and is scalable to our other brands,” he said. Netflix has pay TV window rights to Disney theatrical releases for the U.S., kicking in at the end of next year, and Canada, starting with 2015 theatrical releases.

New content will be added to DisneyLife as it becomes available. Movies produced by Marvel and the Lucasfilm “Star Wars” franchise will not be included, but “Star Wars” and Marvel subscription services could be launched in the future, Iger said.

Iger saw apps, not linear television, as the future. “There’s a general sense that the world is going in this direction,” he said. “There will be multichannel TV and we will be part of it, but the app experience offers many more layers (and) much more richness in content than a channel, where one program follows another program.”

He added: “There’s so much more texture to (using the app) and it takes advantage of what technology is enabling these days — whereas a linear channel doesn’t. There’s nothing wrong with linear television but that’s one of the reasons why the app experience is going to grow.”

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