According to a report in the UK Financial Times now being widely shared around business and entertainment media, Disney is about to launch a streaming service, DisneyLife, in the UK, and later across Europe, offering books and other media online, along with streamed movies and Disney Channel episodes. Disney CEO Bob Iger apparently made a statement about the launch, but the FT appears to have got there first. The DisneyLife site is already live in the UK, however, but for now appears to be little more than an informational front-end.
The DisneyLife site describes the service as: “A unique digital membership giving you access to our biggest collection of Disney movies, kids’ TV box sets, music, books and apps, in one place for the first time!” According to the FT report, DisneyLife will cost £9.99 ($15.43) per month. The same report cites various licensing conflicts with cable TV and other content providers as the reason Disney is opting for the UK to roll out the service. Star Wars and Marvel properties will not be included in the initial offering, according to Iger, but may be added later.
Exactly where this takes Disney’s book offerings, whether print or digital, is open to speculation for now. Judging from the website’s home page, though, DisneyLife looks likely to bundle online e-books as part of the overall service package, accessible from a main interface alongside movies and music.
It’s good to see e-books being highlighted by an entertainment major like Disney on the same level as movies and music. However, based on the website, DisneyLife seems to be structured on a walled-garden approach, with content confined within the streaming platform. Disney fans may not mind, especially when the e-books come as part of a streaming subscription. But it suggests a further move away from portability and customer ownership for e-books.