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Disney+ launch could spark change in how streaming services work

What the streaming service will look like (Disney)
What the streaming service will look like (Disney)

Disney’s new video streaming service will force others to “up their game” or change how they operate in the face of new competition, according to one industry expert.

Disney+ will launch in the UK on March 24, the entertainment giant confirmed on Tuesday.

The service first launched in the US in November and is seen as the latest challenger to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+.

It will host original content, films and other series from studios including Disney, Pixar and Marvel as well as the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars cast
Disney’s content now includes the Star Wars universe (Ian West/PA)

That range of TV shows and films will likely worry rival streaming platforms, according to technology expert and founder of Pocket-lint.com, Stuart Miles, who said it could force some platforms to rethink their subscription models and how they offer users content.

“With such a vast catalogue of Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars films and shows I suspect Disney+ won’t be anything other than a huge success,” he said.

“The worry for rival streaming services though is that without those shows and films they are going to have to up their game and find their niche in terms of the content they offer, and for some that might not be enough.

“We could end up having a market so diversified, that the current ‘all-you-can-eat’ model might have to change to cope with the changing viewing habits.”

Disney has confirmed that its new service will cost £5.99 for a monthly subscription, or £59.99 to sign up for a year.

That monthly price is the same starting rate as a subscription to Netflix, Amazon and BritBox.

Apple TV+ is currently £4.99 a month.

Among the programmes available at launch will be The Mandalorian, the critically acclaimed series set in the world of Star Wars. It introduced the “Baby Yoda” character to the world which has since become an internet sensation.

The Avengers cast
Marvel’s Avengers are also part of the service (Ian West/PA)

Classic Disney animated movies, as well as new live-action or photorealistic Disney remakes such as Lady and the Tramp will also be part of the Disney+ library, as will existing films and other TV shows from the Star Wars franchise and content from National Geographic.

The platform will also be the exclusive streaming location for films released by the Walt Disney Studios from 2020, the company said.

On the same date as its UK launch, the service will also go live in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.

When it was launched in the US in November, the service gained more than 10 million subscribers on its first day, although some customers were offered a year of the service free of charge with some phone and home internet plans.

Disney did not break down where the subscriptions came from or if they were free or paid monthly or yearly.

Netflix has gathered around 158 million subscribers since launching its streaming platform in 2007.

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