With Disney repositioning its Entertainment divisions to focus on profitability over streaming subscriber numbers, we are going to see a shift in how content is going to be released in Latin America.
Recently, Fernando Barbosa, who is Disney Latin America’s leader of Production, Acquisition and Distribution, revealed that after three years of distributing and marketing its original content for its own streaming services, Disney+ and Star+, they will be returning to offering their content on different platforms and television channels throughout the region. According to Produ, Fernando Barbosa, said: (translated)
“We have returned to this business model that with the exclusivity of the content on the platforms, some of us thought that distribution to third parties by Disney could disappear, however, we know that it is a good business and that we have a lot of high-quality local content. that it can also be a success outside of our Disney+, Star+ and pay TV channels that we still have many in the region,”
Back in 2021, Disney launched Star+ across Latin America, which was a hybrid of ESPN+ and Hulu, with sports programming plus general entertainment content from Disney’s brands like 20th Century Studios, FX and ABC. While Disney+ outside of the America’s had a Star hub added, featuring general entertainment content.
However, the launch of Star+ wasn’t a huge success, Disney hasn’t officially announced how many subscribers it has, and there was lots of negativity from Disney+ subscribers throughout the region, who felt they should have got Star included, rather than it launching as its own service. Plus, there was a huge legal issue with StarzPlay, as Lionsgate viewed it as causing confusion with the name within the region. This resulted in Disney paying Lionsgate for access to the Star brand.
Last week, Disney purged over a hundred original films and shows from its streaming services around the world, including many Latin America originals such as “Prime Time”, “Repatriated”, and “Insanity”. The good news, is that these Latin American originals, along with many more, could be heading to other platforms within the region, as Fernando added that more than 70 local productions, are ready for distribution.
“All this content is already available to be marketed in Latin America first, where it will surely be a success, and why not, to many other regions of the world.”
Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has spoken at a couple of the company’s quarterly financial investor calls this year, talking about how they are planning on cutting back on how much content they are creating for their streaming services and linear networks. With him specifically pointing out that there has been an imbalance in how much international programming they’ve been making and will be making changes to this. Instead, focusing on promoting their original programming globally.
The structure is now designed to place responsibility of all international programming and investment in content in the hands ofoneunitso that they can better decide the balance between what we make for global distribution and consumption and what we make for local distributionand consumption, with an eye toward possibly reducing expenses there as well as we balance better.
This shift back to offering some selected content on different platforms internationally, isn’t a huge surprise, since in many countries around the world, Disney has continued to license out some shows and films to some television networks and other streaming services. Disney is still focused on its streaming services, but we are likely to see Disney holding onto their content exclusively far less, as it looks to make more money in a changing industry.
With Disney recently announcing plans to merge Hulu into Disney+ in the US, will we see a similar thing happen to Disney+ and Star+ in the future? It’s much more possible than before, but ultimately, we will have to wait and see.
What do you think of Disney returning to licencing out content in Latin America? Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.