Disney launches £9.99/month DisneyLife SVOD service in the UK, but Marvel and Star Wars are MIA

The Walt Disney Company this week introduced a new SVOD service in the UK called DisneyLife, which offers monthly subscribers a collection of Disney-owned movies, books, music and TV shows. A family account that supports up to six different users costs £9.99 per month, and the service will initially be available in the UK.

"Our team has worked tirelessly to create a personal, intuitive and unique experience for the whole family," said Paul Brown, general manager of DisneyLife UK, in a release. "Disney means something different to every parent and child and now with DisneyLife, we are handing over the keys to them to explore the ever expanding digital world of Disney -- wherever they are, and whenever they want."

The service currently offers an array of content including books and movies from Disney archives such as The Jungle Book and The Lion King. It also offers content from Pixar, such as Cars, Wall-E and Monsters Inc., that Disney acquired in 2006. Users can access the service via DisneyLife's website and its iOS and Android apps.

However, absent from the service is the newer content Disney acquired via its 2009 acquisition of Marvel and its 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm. Comic-book company Marvel owns the rights to smash-hits like The Avengers and Iron Man, while Lucasfilm is the owner of the Star Wars franchise, which is expected to explode into theaters later this year with the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. None of that content is currently available on DisneyLife.

April Hogan, a spokesperson for DisneyLife, did not answer questions from FierceOnlineVideo about DisneyLife, including whether Disney would launch the service in the United States, and what SVOD vendors Disney might be using to offer DisneyLife.

DisneyLife is currently available in the UK, and Disney said the service would expand to additional European markets in the future.

Disney initially announced its DisneyLife plans to enter the SVOD market in October. At the time, Disney CEO Bob Iger told the Financial Times that DisneyLife could lay the groundwork for the launch of Marvel and Star Wars SVOD services in the United States. "The technology platform that this sits on is scalable to the U.S. and is scalable to our other brands," Iger told the FT in October, according to TechCrunch.

 Disney aims to "reach consumers directly and not through middleman," Iger said. "There's nothing wrong with linear television, but that's one of the reasons why the app experience is going to grow."

It's also unclear how the launch of DisneyLife could affect Disney's relationship with Netflix. Currently, Starz has an exclusive distribution deal with Disney through this year, but Netflix has inked a distribution agreement with Disney starting next year. "It's up to Disney how they want to manage access to those assets before, during or after the release of Star Wars VII. So it's certainly an ongoing discussion," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said during the SVOD provider's third-quarter earnings conference call.

For more:
- see this DisneyLife release
- see this FierceCable article
- see this TechCrunch article

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