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Disney unveils price, launch date for big streaming push

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Disney unveils price, launch date for big streaming push

BURBANK, Calif. (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co priced its highly anticipated streaming video service below Netflix in an aggressive move to challenge the dominant streaming service and entice families to buy yet another monthly subscription.

FILE PHOTO: Disney characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse attend the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris at the park in Marne-la-Vallee, near Paris, France, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Disney said on Thursday its new family-friendly streaming service will cost $7 monthly or $70 annually with a slate of new and classic TV shows and movies from some of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises in a bid to challenge the digital dominance of Netflix.

The ad-free monthly subscription called Disney+ is set to launch on Nov. 12 and in every major global market over time, the company said. In addition to Disney films and TV shows, it will feature programming from the Marvel superhero universe, the “Star Wars” galaxy, “Toy Story” creator Pixar animation the National Geographic channel and the entire library of “The Simpsons.”

“What we are putting forward is an aggressive strategy,” Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told analysts at the presentation. “We’ve got to be very serious and all in on it.”

The company set a target of luring between 60 million to 90 million subscribers and achieving profitability in fiscal year 2024. It plans to plow a little over $1 billion in cash to finance original programming in fiscal 2020 and about $2 billion by 2024.

The cost of the service was lower than the $7.50 per month that Wall Street analysts expected on average, according to a Reuters poll, and could likely be seen as a stronger bid to appeal to more customers.

Patrice Cucinello, a director at Fitch Ratings, said Disney had priced the new service “very affordably.”

“Disney is approaching streaming offerings, particularly Disney+, with guns blazing, looking to take share and quickly ramp subscriber growth,” Cucinello said.

To get it in front of more people, Disney said it has struck deals with Roku Inc and Sony Corp to distribute Disney+ on streaming devices and console gaming systems and expects it to be widely available on smart televisions, tablets, and other outlets by launch. It did not mention if it would be available on Apple Inc’s upcoming video service.

Disney kicked off its presentation to Wall Street analysts at its Burbank, California, headquarters on Thursday with a video that demonstrated the breadth of its portfolio, showing clips from dozens of classic TV shows and movies from “Frozen” and “The Lion King” to “Avatar” and “The Sound of Music.”

The transformation of the Mouse House, as it is known, from a cable television powerhouse into a leader of streaming media could be Iger’s final legacy as he told Wall Street analysts he would not extend his contract beyond 2021 and was working with the board of directors on a succession plan.

GLOBAL GROWTH

Executives said they see opportunities to take its ESPN+ sport streaming video service to Latin America and are looking into international expansion of its Hulu streaming video business, which offers movies and shows targeted to adults.

Disney also forecast Hulu’s subscribers to reach 40 million to 60 million by fiscal 2024 and reach profitability in the United States by either 2023 or 2024. Hulu currently has 25 million subscribers and is expected to lose $1.5 billion in the current fiscal year.

The digital push is Disney’s response to cord-cutting, the dropping of cable service that has hit its ESPN sports network and other channels, and the rise of Netflix Inc. The Silicon Valley upstart has amassed 139 million customers worldwide since it began streaming 12 years ago.

Disney will join the market at a time when audiences are facing a host of choices, and monthly bills, for digital entertainment. Apple, AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia and others plan new streaming services.

To bolster its potential digital portfolio, Disney recently purchased film and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and gained prized properties such as “Avatar.”

Disney had been supplying new movies such as “Black Panther” and “Beauty and the Beast” to Netflix after their runs in theaters but ended that arrangement this year to feed its own streaming ambitions. The company estimated it is foregoing $150 million in licensing revenue this fiscal year by saving programming for its own platforms.

Slideshow (3 Images)

The Disney+ programming will draw in part from Disney’s deep library of classic family films. It also will include exclusive original content such as a live-action “Star Wars” series called “The Mandalorian,” a show focused on Marvel movie villain Loki, and animated “Monsters at Work,” inspired by hit Pixar movie “Monsters Inc.”

Some new Disney movies, such as a “Lady and the Tramp” remake, will go directly to the Disney+ app. Other new releases will appear on Disney+ after their run in theaters and after they cycle out of the home video sales window, executives have said.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Kenneth Li

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Jenna Bush Hager announces third pregnancy: ‘I don’t know how I hid this’

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Jenna Bush Hager announces third pregnancy: 'I don't know how I hid this'

Jenna Bush Hager revealed she is expecting her third child with husband, Henry Hager.

The “Today” show co-anchor broke the news on air to a heartwarming reception from her fellow anchors—even receiving a hug from co-host Craig Melvin. “I’m very pregnant… I don’t know how I hid this,” said Hager in her announcement.

Hager also spoke about her daughters—Mila, 6, and Poppy, 3—and their reaction to the big news. The mother of two revealed the pregnancy to her daughters via their Easter baskets, which drew elated reactions from the tots. “They told the man behind me on the airplane. They told the people at church,” Bush Hager said with a laugh. “They’re so happy — to [the point] where they’re telling strangers.”

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Hager also expressed fear when debriefing co-host Hoda Kotb about the pregnancy. “I told Hoda, I said I’m so sorry. She had a glimmer in her eye. Lo and behold, we are doing it at the same time,” said Hager, referring to Hoda’s announcement of her newly-adopted daughter Hope Catherine.

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Hager, who is the daughter of former President George W. Bush, has stated that she intends to reveal more details about her forthcoming child, including the gender, on the 10 o’clock hour of the “Today” show. She married Henry Hager in 2008 after meeting him during the 2004 presidential campaign for father.

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KISS guitarist Paul Stanley explains how a childhood deformity led him to become a rock legend

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KISS guitarist Paul Stanley explains how a childhood deformity led him to become a rock legend

KISS guitarist Paul Stanley said a physical deformity is responsible for pushing him to become one of the most flamboyant and stylized rockers in history.

Stanley may be better known to fans for the “Starchild” persona that he’s used since he started with the iconic band in the late 1970s. Stanley would paint one black star over his right eye, which he recently revealed was part of the rock and roll glamor he turned to after being a social outcast in his youth.

Stanley sat down for an interview with Dan Rather on AXS TV where he got candid about living with a deformity called microtia and how it pushed him into the spotlight.

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“I pursued fame as a way to compensate for a lot of insecurities. I was born deaf on my right side and I had a birth defect. I had what’s called a microtia, which is basically not having an ear. Having a crumpled mass of cartilage,” he shared. “And, I wasn’t very socially adept and when you have something physical that sets you apart from people it makes you really a target of unrelenting scrutiny and sometimes ridicule. And, quite honestly, the idea of becoming famous was a way to push it in people’s faces and go, ‘you see, you should have been nicer to me.’”

While he’s grateful for the many years he spent with KISS and for the life it’s given him, he says that he learned quickly that fame wouldn’t solve his problems. However, he thanks the rocket-ride for teaching him that lesson early, when there was still time to do something about it.

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“I was fortunate enough to have success come to me and realize that didn’t change anything. So I was really blessed because, at that point in your life, it’s either a disappointment because it’s not a remedy and you either put a needle in your arm, a gun in your mouth or you live life as a victim, and I’m not cut out of that,” he said. “So I decided that I would spend my life and my time on self-exploration and trying to make myself a better person and seeing where that was going to take me.”

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Now, Stanley and the rest of the band are preparing to leave their makeup and armored outfits behind at the conclusion of their “KISS End of the Road World Tour,” which kicked off earlier this year.

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Pink says she’ll no longer share photos of her kids after people comment ‘just some of the nastiest things’

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Pink says she'll no longer share photos of her kids after people comment 'just some of the nastiest things'

Pink says she’ll no longer share photos of her children on social media after receiving a slew of negative comments about her parenting abilities.

The 39-year-old mother of two appeared on Monday’s episode on “The Ellen Show” where she spoke with host Ellen DeGeneres about the decision to cut back on posting about her kids. The final straw came when she shared an image of her and her children admiring a pelican that flew into their room and allegedly stayed with them for about two hours.

Pink caught backlash online for the fact that her 2-year-old son, Jameson, was bottomless with no diaper in the beach photo despite the fact she edited out his private parts.

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“We live on a farm. My kids are naked. It’s what happens. I’m naked sometimes,” Pink explained (via The Hollywood Reporter).

She continued: “People went as far as saying, ‘Someone should call Child Services,’ because he didn’t have a diaper on, and ‘How dare I?’ — just some of the nastiest things,” an emotional Pink said. “I cried so hard after that because I like to share my family. … I’m prouder of my kids than anything I’ve ever done and I just won’t share them anymore. I won’t do it.”

The star acknowledged that she has a responsibility to her kids, Jameson and 7-year-old sister Willow, given that she’s in the public eye. However, she takes issue with the “anonymous” keyboard warriors’ approach.

“There’s a kind way to be online. I’m open to kindness online,” she said.

The image in question remains on Pink’s Instagram. However, she has since changed the caption to be a scathing lecture to the trolls that commented on her child’s bottomless appearance.

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“There’s something seriously wrong with a lot of you out there. Going off about my baby’s penis? About circumcision??? Are you for real? As any normal mother at the beach, I didn’t even notice he took off his swim diaper,” she wrote. “I deleted it because you’re all f—ing disgusting. And now I’m turning off my comments and shaking my head at the state of social media and keyboard warriors.”

Pink concluded: “And the negativity that you bring to other people’s lives. There is something seriously wrong with a lot of you out there. Smfh. Here’s a picture of the pelican we obviously caught and abused for hours before dangling baby penis in its face.”

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In her interview with Degeneres, Pink noted that she’s happy to engage with her online haters if she has the time. She previously fired back at critics of her opinions on the Covington Catholic school students after they were criticized for their behavior at a march for Native American people.

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