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Disney+ launches in seven European countries

The streaming platform’s India launch has been paused due to delay in IPL

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MUMBAI: Disney+ has launched in Europe as the coronavirus continues its macabre journey at different parts of the world. It may be recalled that just a few days ago, the streaming platform launched in India, only to withdraw abruptly the next day.

The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service will launch in France on April 7.

The European launch of Disney+ means that it will be available in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Disney+ will come with a comparatively lower bandwidth utilisation in view of the growing worries about the capability of some broadband infrastructure to manage the likely surge in consumer demand.  

In 2019 November, Disney+ launched its service in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. 

Disney+ provides a treasure-trove of more than 26 original movies and series, films, and television episodes and much more. The launch means that audiences in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland will be able to enjoy streaming of Disney+ on almost all major mobile and connected TV devices, which include smart television, streaming media players and gaming consoles. Disney+ provides commercial-free viewing and unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, in addition to customised recommendations. While subscribers may set up to seven different profiles, parents are at liberty to set Kids Profiles which feature child-friendly interface. It enables parents to restrict inappropriate content.

Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, said that launching in seven markets simultaneously is a new milestone for Disney. “As the streaming home for Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic, Disney+ delivers high-quality, optimistic storytelling that fans expect from our brands, now available broadly, conveniently and permanently on Disney+. We humbly hope that this service can bring some much-needed moments of respite for families during these difficult times.”

Meanwhile, the streaming platform (DIS +14.5%) is enjoying its best day as a stock since October 2008. Though at $98.18, it's still significantly off a 52-week high of $153.41, or even the $140 mark of a month ago.

According to MoffettNathanson, Disney was unencumbered by language barriers unlike Netflix which had to localize its content for various non-English-speaking regions. Moreover, Disney+ is rolling out in Europe at a time when a large part of the population is staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lockdown is likely to help the service to boost its subscriber uptake. 

Unlike other international markets, Disney already has its OTT presence in India through Hotstar which came under its umbrella after the 21st Century Fox acquisition. Bob Iger, the ideator of Disney’s streaming journey, wanted to exploit Hotstar’s popularity in the country and launch the merged and rebranded service during IPL. Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic, the cricket tournament has been postponed and the entry of Disney+ got delayed in India.

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