Disney+ Sees an International Future in the ‘Star’

Disney+ Sees an International Future in the ‘Star’

Aside from shopping online, streaming has seen the most dividends from everyone sheltering-in-place. No one is kicking Netflix off the binging mountain any time soon. Nonetheless, Disney+ is hoping to add some heat their red behind with the new international streaming service, Star.

Back in 2018, The Walt Disney Co. purchased all of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox empire in a monstrous $71 billion cash and stock deal. One of the forgotten aspects of that transaction was Star India, Fox Star Studios, and Hotstar. (Seeing the trend here?)

Those networks of international flair were the quiet free agents in a blockbuster sports trade. Turns out the House of the Mouse always knew what they were planning on doing with that sateliite network. And now we know.

The Disney+ Earnings Call

Disney+ earnings call introduced the new Star service
Courtesy: The Walt Disney Co.

The quarterly earnings call was full of good news and bad news for the global house of magic. The bad news is really bad: CEO Bob Chapek announced a loss of nearly $5 billion due to COVID-19. In the last three months!

The Coronavirus has sucked for everyone (except Amazon), but there was a glimmer of light peeking from behind those big round ears. Disney+ has now surpassed 60 million subscribers. Yet, their international consumers need more love, so… why not?

Courtesy: The Walt Disney Co.

It’s time for Disney to do what they do best: Wish upon a star.

New to their teeming portfolio of properties in 2021 will be “Star”, which the powers that be believe will bring direct-to-consumer content to viewers completely around the world.

Not like they didn’t already have international outreach, but oh well. According to several reports detailing the earnings call, Star will be similar to “an international version of Hulu.”

What’s that mean? Imagine Hulu, but only with Disney-owned networks, which would include ABC, FX, FreeForm, Searchlight, and 20th Century Studios.

In many markets, the offering will be fully integrated into our established Disney+ platform from both a marketing and a technology perspective and it will be distributed under the Star brand which has been successfully utilized by the company for other general entertainment platform launches, particularly with Disney+ Hotstar in India.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Also, during the same call, we learned the news that went viral fast: Mulan will now go VOD for $30. And that’s just to “rent.” Sure, you can wait a while and own the DVD for half that much, but it’s Disney+. They know you want that premium experience.

How can you afford that? Go outside and look up. There’s a whole bunch of other stars to wish upon.


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I write for a living, among other things in the digital journalism and analytics universe. So I'm a little like a nerd unicorn. But no bronies. Move along.
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