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Why Disney+ Should Implement Live TV

Live TV on Disney+ would be a dream come true. It's probably coming with the ad-tier this fall... right?

Disney+ is a juggernaut when it comes to streaming across the globe but Disney has struggled with cutting out cable channels in some countries, especially the United States. So the question I want to ask is simple, should Disney+ in the US implement Live TV? Let’s discuss.

Only Need To Focus On Disney-Owned Networks

This is a point which cannot be understated, but if Disney+ were to ever integrate a Live TV option Disney should focus on adding live versions of channels they already own and operate. Some channels Disney+ could live stream include ABC (even giving ABC News a dedicated channel), Freeform, the National Geographic channels, the Disney Channels, the ESPN channels and if Disney wants to go all out throw the FX channels in that mix as well for good measure. Peacock and Paramount+ already have this feature, so it would also keep Disney+ in competition.

They’ve Already Built A Working Live Channels Feature

This is another huge point, recently Disney added a free Live channel feature onto the ABC, Freeform and National Geographic websites in the US. In Latin America Disney owned Star+ has been live streaming sports since its inception and that app is built on the same code as Disney+. Disney+ in the US has also streamed the 2022 Oscar Nominations and plans to stream the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars live. The fact Disney already has experimented with this feature shows they wouldn’t be opposed to such an idea.

Live TV and Curated Channels have just launched on Disney’s ABC.com, Freeform.com, and FX.com websites

What Would Happen If They Did Add Live TV?

The first thing they would possibly do is shut down ESPN+ and have all their live sports stream on Disney+ instead. The next step would be to implement next-day episodes/premieres for new shows and original movies to premiere on Disney+ the same time they air or within twenty-four hours after they air. Editor’s Note: This would allow them to finally shut down the redundant and antiquated DisneyNow service.

DisneyNow should not still exist.

Disney could also use this as a huge marketing tool as they can sell the service to those who want to keep up to date with the latest news or sports events. With Disney owning many well-known channels in the US it could lead to an increase in subscribers from cord-cutters who don’t want to fork out over one hundred dollars a month.

What About Internationally?

Good question, for example in my home country of the UK Disney only operates two National Geographic channels as they shuttered the Disney Channels, Baby TV and Fox over the last two years, so adding Live TV would be a little pointless in this market. In places like Latin America, they could very well benefit from having the live TV feature and transition subs from Star+ to Disney+. Live TV would work in some other international markets but they’d need to be done on a case by case basis.

What Would Disney Charge For This Feature?

My guess Is Disney will offer a few different pricing tiers of Disney+:

  • Disney+ with Ads ($4.99)
  • DIsney+ without Ads ($9.99)
  • Disney+ with Live TV (between $14.99 to $24.99 if they add ESPN into this feature because sports rights ain’t cheap)

NOTE: none of the prices above are confirmed and this is all hypothetical.

But What About Hulu?

Hulu is an inferior service to Disney+ when it comes to branding and subscriber interest when it comes to the big-budget original content. Hulu has served its purpose and Disney would benefit from spinning off or shuttering Hulu as nobody wants to pay for two streaming services to access one company’s library. If Disney wanted to make Hulu their primary service they wouldn’t be spending billions on producing content for Disney+.

Final Thoughts

As more and more consumers cut the cord, Disney is going to want to find a way to keep those cord-cutters paying them for their content, adding Live TV to Disney+ could help Disney pull in more revenue and subscribers. If Disney wants to keep channels like ESPN and the Disney Channels thriving, then Disney would be foolish to not add live channels to Disney+. Think about the number of potential customers Disney+ is missing out on because the service doesn’t offer consumers the biggest series and sporting events that Disney broadcasts on traditional cable channels. Adding Live TV to Disney+ could offer a new way to grab the attention of new potential customers by offering live ABC News and ESPN sports, just to name a few channels that Disney+ would benefit from streaming.

Ethan Holloway
Ethan Holloway
Freelance Writer | Website | + posts

An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.

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