Disney will be rolling out a new general entertainment streaming service called “Star” internationally in 2021. This week, Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy spoke at the Bank of America Virtual 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. During the zoom call, she provided some more details on the new platform, which will offer content from Disney’s ABC Studios, 2oth Television, FX, Freeform, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight brands.
Well, we’re in the process of refining the launch plans and the investment spending, and we will once again at the Investor Day provide a full roadmap for how that is going to be rolled out in the international markets.
But Star will look different in some of the markets. It’s not going to be a one size fits all. It’s really going to be based on the dynamics of each individual market. And I wouldn’t say – there’s not going to be, like, every market will be different, but there’ll be a couple of different versions of Star. And we intend to have that be a general entertainment. Once again, we’ll get more specific at the Investor Day along with how we’re going to roll it out. But we do think there’s a lot of synergy in the markets that we have already launched Disney+. So, we think there’s some good synergistic value that we’ll be able to basically get behind.
Disney already has a number of versions of “Star” operating already, earlier this year, Disney rebranded its Indian streaming platform, Disney+ Hotstar and a version of this launched last week in Indonesia. Hotstar already exists in other countries such as in UK and the US, where it carries Indian content including movies, series and live sports like Cricket.
Disney+ Hotstar includes hundreds of Disney movies and shows, in addition to the Disney+ Originals, plus content from other Disney brands such as 20th Century Studio, Searchlight, ABC and FX. It also carries Indian content and licenced content.
It had been previously announced that Disney would be launching Hulu internationally, however recently Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed during a quarterly investors call, that they would be going with the “Star” brand, since Hulu isn’t known around the globe. Comcast owns 33% of Hulu, which Disney can purchase from 2024, so Disney wouldn’t want to make Hulu more valuable with an international launch.
In the United States, Disney offers a streaming bundle that contains Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, which does provide some synergy between the brands; however, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek has previously stated that:
In many markets, the offering will be fully integrated into our established Disney+ platform from both a marketing and a technology perspective.
So Disney+ and Star are going to be much more connected, possibly as either a add-on to Disney+ or as a single platform like Disney+ Hotstar.
No date for the upcoming Investors Day event has yet been announced.