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After months and months of circulating rumors, finally Disney+ launches Star internationally as their newest content hub. Star on Disney+ will build on the already expansive content collection ranging from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic and their own produced content. Disney+ Star will showcase more mature films and TV shows in order to appeal to their adult audience.
Singapore became the first market for Disney to launch Disney+ together with the new introduction of Star. Star is available to users without any additional costs (as long as they are signed up to Disney+) in Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Disney+ is tapping into the international audience
The reason behind Disney launching Star internationally is mainly due to the fact that streaming platform Hulu, which Disney has a 67% ownership in, is not available in many international markets. Prior to Star, most of Disney’s mature content would be available on Hulu. However, since Hulu is only available in the United States, Disney was not able to cater to international audiences with that platform.
While launching Star has allowed the company to expand on the Disney+ value to international customers with a larger content library, US customers may be disappointed to hear that the movies and TV shows currently available on Hulu will remain on Hulu for them, whereas current Hulu shows will be made available to international audiences via Star. This means that for US customers to access certain movies and shows, they would need to have both a Disney+ and Hulu account if they want to continue accessing a mixture of family-friendly and mature content.
This complicated structure is because of the complex way the revenue streams and content rights deals are placed. Although Star and Hulu will have a lot of overlap between them, depending on where in the world you are (including Love, Simon’s spinoff Hulu series Love, Victor), Hulu’s library in the US is still more varied than Star, as they feature titles from third-party studios, including Paramount and MGM. Conversely, Star will only showcase “feature-first party content” that Disney has the rights to, which include Hulu, Freeform, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, FX, ABC and Touchstone Pictures titles.
Although international users of Disney+ will not have to purchase Star separately, Disney is increasing the subscription prices of their platform where Star is launching. Prices will be increasing from EU€6.99 per month (US$8.50) to EU€8.99 (US$10.94) in international locations, which is quite the increase over Disney’s US$1 price increase from US$6.99 to US$7.99 planned for US users of Disney+ later this year.
Rebecca Campbell, chairman of International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer at The Walt Disney Company talked about the launch, saying, “Disney+ has touched the lives of nearly a hundred million people around the globe by providing a home for exceptional storytelling from the beloved brands of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, and today’s launch of the Star-branded international general entertainment offering marks an exciting expansion for the service. With the addition of Star, we’re building even more value for consumers by adding an incredible array of high-quality movies and series for families, older teens and adults, fueled by the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and our creative studios.”
In the markets where Star has officially launched, the entertainment hub has its own separate brand page, which features a large collection of movies, television shows, documentaries and more, and plans for exclusive Star originals are currently in the works. With the launch of Star catering to more adult-based content, Disney+ have added new parental controls, which include being able to set limits on content accessible to certain profiles based on the content’s rating (i.e. R, PG-13, etc.) and the ability to add a PIN for locking profiles which have access to the R-rated content on Star.
Fans were delighted to hear about the launch of Star, especially since Disney was finally dipping their toes in showing adult-based content on their platforms. (Finally, “Deadpool!”)
However, some US customers had quite the opposite reaction, feeling upset about the fact that international customers will not have to pay for the extra Hulu subscription to get access to the new content coming to Star.
Disney+ is planning a global rollout for Star in more territories later this year, including places in Eastern Europe, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. There are even plans to launch Star+ as a separate platform in Latin America, if the primary launch of Star is successful.
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