The service will launch as a branded tile on its Disney+ platform in Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Singapore on February 23, 2021. The company will increase the price of the Disney+ service to reflect this, to €8.99 in continental Europe and with a “similar adjustment” in other markets.
Rebecca Campbell, Chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, The Walt Disney Company made the announcement as part of its four-hour investor presentation.
She said that the service will include TV series and films from Disney Television Studios and FX as well as from its Disney library. “It will add a robust collection of our best original general entertainment films and series,” she said.
However, Campbell admitted that “this might be a lot to digest”.
In Latin America, the service will be launched standalone in June 2021.
Star will be a more adult-orientated service featuring content from the company’s ABC, FX, Freeform, Searchlight, and 20th Century Studios brands.
It will essentially be a similar service to Hulu, which Disney CEO Bob Chapek has recently said has “no brand awareness” outside of the U.S. One difference, however, is that it will not include aggregated third-party content ala Hulu and will instead focus on shows that Disney owns, as well as those that do not fall into other licensing arrangements globally.
It follows the launch of Disney+ Hotstar, which was launched in India in April and in Indonesia in September. That service was built on Hotstar, the streaming service operated by Star India that Disney inherited when it acquired 20th Century Fox.
Chapek said on the company’s third quarter financials call, “In terms of the general entertainment offering internationally, we want to mirror our successful Disney Plus strategy by using our Disney Plus technical platform, bringing in content we already own and distributing it under a successful international brand that we also already own, which is, of course, Star.”
One of the things that Disney will have to do to make such a service successful internationally is untangle certain rights. The company’s international distribution arm has, for years, sold its ABC shows to linear broadcasters and local streaming services, around the world.
Disney+ is also continuing its international rollout. The Mandalorian service launched in the Netherlands and Canada alongside its U.S. debut in November 2019 and later that month rolled out in Australia and New Zealand. In March, it rolled out in the UK, Austria, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland, in June, it launched in Japan followed by a number of territories across Europe in September and Latin America in November