November 12, 2020
Disney’s first foray into premium VOD distribution of new-release movies into consumer homes rather than theaters proved successful, according to CEO Bob Chapek. Speaking on the Nov. 12 fiscal call, Chapek said the Sept. 4 availability of live-action movie Mulan to Disney+ subscribers for $29.99 was a success. He didn’t disclose actual unit sales, saying Disney would reveal PVOD data on the virtual Investor Day on Dec. 10.
“From a studio content standpoint, we were very pleased with the results of Mulan as a premier access title,” Chapek said. The title met with adverse publicity (“mostly in the U.S.,” said Chapek) regarding filming locations in China and human rights issues with local ethnic Muslims, but not before Disney was able to determine the value of PVOD.
“We saw enough very positive results before that controversy started to know that we’ve got something here in terms of Premier Access strategy,” Chapek said. “We’ll talk a little bit more that at the investor conference.”
He said offering the movie Soul first to Disney+ subs on Christmas Day reflects the company’s strategy of upping the content pipeline to the SVOD service.
“We thought it was a really nice gesture to our subscribers during the holiday period and provide that as part of the service,” Chapek said. “I think what we’ve learned with Mulan is that there’s going to be a role for [PVOD] strategically with our portfolio of offerings.”