Launch day arrives for Disney+ in UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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Bringing no little relief to populations currently on lockdown to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Disney+ direct-to-consumer services has begun its second phase of global rollout.
Disney 24Mar2020 2
The service will offer at launch on-demand streaming access to reg vast Disney vaults including the Disney Channel and Star Wars — with the first seven Star Wars movies available for the first time in this format — as well as Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic. Yet the undoubted star draw will be The Mandalorian, the first-ever live-action Star Wars series and which has broken all download records since being part of the direct-to-service service’s initial bundle. After driving the direct-to-consumer service to an incredible first day on 12 November, then becoming the most requested series in US TV a week later, the original series became the most in-demand series in the world.

Other notable content includes Hocus Pocus; Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Toy Story 1–3; Lady and the Tramp; Noelle, an original comedy starring Anna Kendrick; High School Musical: The Musical: The Series; The World According to Jeff Goldblum docu-series from National Geographic; Marvel’s Hero Project; The Imagineering Story, a six-part documentary from director Leslie Iwerks; short-form series Pixar IRL and Disney Family Sundays; and animated short film collections SparkShorts and Forky Asks A Question from Pixar Animation Studios.

In the UK the service will be available at a special introductory price of only £49.99 for a year instead of the standard £5.99 per month. Disney+ was due to launch in France on 24 March along with the other countries but the launch has been pushed back to April.

The launch has naturally been commented upon by many in the analyst community and the timing of the service’s arrival has been made more interesting by the actions of the what will be Disney+’s leading European rivals in offering content in SD rather than HD in order to reduce the added strain that has now been put on home networks. This will be placed under more strain as Disney+ is sure to be a commercial success. A study of 2,175 internet users in the UK from GlobalWebIndex found that over the past eight months, the number of UK consumers who express they are aware of the new offering has risen by 23 percentage-points to 58%.

Mark Inskip, CEO UK & Ireland of Kantar’s Media Division noted that a survey of 1000 consumers in Great Britain had shown that 72% of households who already use VOD services were aware of the Disney+ launch and, whilst only 13% of all those surveyed expressed interest in subscribing to the new service, interest was significantly higher in more engaged subgroups such as the 16-34 age bracket, 43% of whom are very or quite likely to subscribe.

Commenting on the prospects he said: “With the streaming wars ongoing – and the Covid-19 pandemic driving many indoors – the launch of Disney’s ‘Disney+’ streaming service comes at a very interesting time for the industry and for consumers alike. The recent partnership between Disney and Sky will no doubt play a key role in further boosting the appeal to consumers. But Disney’s success will also rest on the very positive perception of its brand and the service: 23% of those surveyed trust the Disney brand, rising to 28% of the 35+ age bracket; 24% of those surveyed also believed the service represented good value for money.”

Assessing what the introduction of Disney+ will mean for network strain, Antonio Corrado, CEO, of MainStreaming said: “With Disney+ officially launching in the UK, it confirms the continued global rollout of direct-to-consumer streaming. The global broadcast industry therefore needs to make sure it’s answering consumer demand for access to high-quality video content via their connected devices. Now that [broadcasters] are transitioning to deliver video over the internet, which is based on “best effort” service which is not up to broadcast standards, [consumers] will be expecting the same guaranteed quality. This is why a solution built for today’s video streaming needs is a necessity. The providers that will be able to enable the next era in streaming video over the internet will be the ones that guarantee a quality of experience (QoE) based on an optimum quality of service (QoS).”