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Explained: Disney+ and the future of video streaming

Disney+ also launches at time when on-demand video streaming services continue to grow in popularity across the world. Among other big players, Apple launched Apple TV+ on November 1.

Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | Updated: November 18, 2019 12:42:04 am
Explained: Disney+ and the future of video streaming It will feature exclusive content from Disney. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others, Disney+ will also introduce its own original content. (Source: Bloomberg)

Disney+, the new streaming service with exclusive content from Walt Disney Company’s vast bank, is off to a big start. Disney+ launched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands on November 12, and according to the company, has already got 10 million subscribers signed up in just under two days. It also launches at time when on-demand video streaming services continue to grow in popularity across the world. Among other big players, Apple launched Apple TV+ on November 1.

What is Disney+ ?

It is the premium streaming service starting at $6.99 per month in the US with on-demand video. It will feature exclusive content from Disney. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and others, Disney+ will also introduce its own original content. One of the most talked about of these is The Mandalorian, the first-ever live-action Star Wars series.

Disney+ subscribers get access to four concurrent streams, and unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices. It will support setting up of seven different profiles. Parents will also be able to set up Kids Profiles to ensure age-appropriate content.

When will Disney+ launch in India?

Disney+ is launching in US, Canada and the Netherlands for now. It will launch in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico on November 19, followed by countries in Western Europe – including the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – on March 31, 2020.

Regarding India, there’s no word, except from Hotstar, the streaming service owned by Star Networks that in turn is owned by Walt Disney Company. Hotstar has been tweeting that it will bring Disney+ to India. It is not clear if Disney+ will be bundled in the existing price of Hotstar (Rs 299 per month or Rs 999 per year) or whether the prices will be increased for Hotstar.

Already some of the Disney exclusive content such as the Avengers movies are showing on Hotstar.

How will one stream Disney+?

The Disney+ service won’t just be limited to apps on Android and iOS and the official website. Like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, it will work on Google Chromecast, Android TV devices, LG Smart TVs with webOS, Microsoft (Xbox One), Samsung Smart TVs. All Android-based Sony TVs and PlayStation 4 and Roku streaming devices will get the service. Amazon’s Fire TV devices, including the Fire TV Stick also get support eventually.

What does this mean to the video streaming market?

Disney’s vast content includes the Marvel franchise with all the Avengers films, and the Star Wars franchise, all with a fan base running into millions. They will flock to the platform as shows or films are developed around these, besides streaming the older films. In 2019, Disney acquired 21th Century Fox, which gave it control over the entire Fox network, cable TV channels, Star Networks in India, and even a 30 per cent stake in Hulu.

No one but Disney will be distributing this content. Earlier Netflix had content from Marvel, but that has all been pulled given the new Disney+ service. Disney also has titles planned such as an Obi-Wan Kenobi series (Star Wars franchise), live-action series from Marvel Studios with characters like The Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, etc.

Disney+ will also have content from Pixar, National Geographic, and shows like The Simpsons. Some of the most popular children’s movies like The Lion King, The Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Mickey Mouse, old classics like The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, Cinderella, etc are all going to be exclusively available on Disney+.

Plus Disney+ has a bundled option for US subscribers to get access to ESPN and Hulu at $12.99, which means it will also provide sports content and content from Hulu. However, Disney+ will be family-oriented with no adult or R-rated content.

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