Nearly a year ago, Disney launched a sixth core brand called Star onto Disney+ in many countries worldwide, including the UK, Australia and Canada. This sixth brand includes more mature content from Disney’s studios like FX, ABC, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures.
Over the past few months, there has been much talk about more general entertainment content being added into Disney+ in the United States. Recently, during the last quarterly financial investors call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said:
Going forward, integrating more owned general entertainment into our services, especially Disney+, will be a priority.
This shift has already begun, as earlier this month, Disney+ in the US saw a few new series added, including “Black-ish”, “Grown-ish”, “The Wonder Years”, and the Star Original series, “Snowdrop”.
One reason for this change from Disney+ just being a “family-friendly” streaming service, is that since the international introduction of Star, Disney+ has seen a drastic increase in engagement from viewers and reduced the number of people unsubscribing. The data Disney is getting from around the world proves that Disney+ needs content for everyone, not just kids. When Disney+ launches in another 40 countries later this year, Star is automatically included.
Ever since Star was revealed at the Investor Day event in 2020, there’s been a slightly green elephant in the room, Hulu. It’s often brought up as the reason why Disney+ in the US don’t have content for older viewers.
But could a change be on the way? Could Star be heading to Disney+ in the US?
Disney may have accidentally revealed that Star is also soon to be added to Disney+ in the US, because the main Disney+ homepage for non-subscribers in the United States has recently been updated with a new image showing some of the content available on Disney+, which also includes the Star tile alongside Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.
Here’s a look at the Disney+ home page (US):
It’s important to stress, that it’s incredibly likely that this image has been updated by mistake.
Either because the updated image was supposed to be for the international version of the website, or was uploaded too early. Either way, expect this to be fixed soon.
However, showcasing Star on the US homepage could be viewed as misleading advertising, since it’s not available to US subscribers.
It also highlights one of the biggest problems with Disney+ in the US operating differently than in almost every other country. There are many occasions when US subscribers suddenly see a Star brand within their app or find content that isn’t available. There is also confusion when US subscribers see commercials and social media posts discussing content that would be unthinkable on Disney+ in the US, such as a recent tweet about “The Kardashians” coming soon to Disney+ in the UK, which thousands of US Disney+ subscribers made viral.
But seeing Star on the main Disney+ sign up page within the United States, could indicate that an announcement is coming soon.
Since Disney CEO Bob Chapek said more general entertainment content would be added to Disney+, we’ve heard very little on it since. The lineup for March was released this week, and it didn’t offer anything for older viewers, other than the previously announced “West Side Story”, which is coming to Disney+ on March 2nd.
If there was to be an announcement about Star coming to the US, there are many good opportunities to do so in the coming weeks ahead:
This week is the 1st anniversary of Disney+ adding Star in other countries, but more likely is that the Walt Disney Company is holding its annual shareholder meeting on March 9th. It’s not uncommon for Disney to make major announcements at this event, to boost the stock price and to please shareholders, many of whom have been requesting Disney+ in the US “grows up” to become a major competitor to Netflix, HBO Max and Paramount+.
With more general entertainment content promised to be heading to Disney+ in the US soon, it does come with some issues.
The Disney brand does have a unique connection with audiences, and many people don’t connect the Disney brand with general entertainment content like the upcoming “The Kardashians” reality series or the current hit, “Pam & Tommy”, all of which are being released on Disney+ under the Star banner internationally.
One problem Disney+ in the US is going to start having issues with, since it doesn’t have a Star hub, where do shows like “Black-ish” or “Snowdrop” belong. What about 20th Century Studios “Free Guy”, which is coming to Disney+ on February 23rd or “West Side Story”. As Disney+ continues to offer more content from its other studios, it will eventually need a hub for this.
Star is the natural home for this, or even the possibility of adding new brand hubs for 20th Century Studios, ABC or FX are possible. All of which are being “tested” within the Disney+ code, and only this week at the TCA Winter Press Tour, FX chief John Landgraf spoke about an FX hub being in Disney+.
In the past few months, there have been lots of hints at either Star being added into Disney+ in the US, or that Star is getting expanded out beyond the one hub to represent Disney’s core brands better. But still, no actual outline or plan has been revealed by Disney.
This recent update to the Disney+ home page, might just be an honest mistake of an international version of the image being uploaded accidentally. Or perhaps it was uploaded earlier than it should have?
What do you think?
Source – Helison Medeiros