This week, Christine McCarthy, who is the Walt Disney Company’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, spoke at the Citi 2020 Global Technology Conference and at the Bank of America Virtual 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference.

During both of these virtual conferences, she gave some more details on the upcoming streaming service, Star, which will be launching internationally and will include content from Disney’s more maturer brands including ABC, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight, Freeform and FX.  This will be launching internationally, instead of Hulu and will only carry content owned by Disney.

During Citi’s conference, she was asked about Star, where she explained what Star is:


I think the best way to characterize Star — and once again, we’re in planning mode for this. We’ll be talking much more about that at the upcoming Investor Day. But when you think about it, it really is general entertainment. And while you can think about Disney+ in utilizing our franchise properties, our legacy properties that we have and building upon them, what we also acquired with Fox were some tremendous creative engines, primarily on the episodic side, primarily television. And there’s everything from 20th Television and these are some new names that they just rebranded.

But 20th Television, ABC Signature, which was the old ABC Studios, Touchstone Television, FX Studios, and they’re all going to produce content for this Star entity, the Star platform. So there will be not — when I say general entertainment, it’s general entertainment that you may have some things that come from our properties or our franchises that’ll be more adult skewing, but it’s really episodic content largely driven by the episodic content engines. Once again, this was a real benefit of the Fox acquisition.

She went onto explain how Star will be different from Disney+, but also tailored differently for different countries.  For example, Disney+ Hotstar is currently already operating in India and launched in Indonesia last weekend.

Because we own some episodic content that we will put on the Star service, it’s not just new content, but we can use some of our episodic library content that once again belongs more on a general entertainment platform than a Disney+ platform that is really branded. When you look at those brand tiles, Disney+, it’s a universe of Disney.

The general entertainment of Star will be able to utilize things that were done pre-Fox acquisition from our episodic creative studios as well as what we acquired with the Fox acquisition. So I think you have to look at it that way. But another thing I just want to note is when we’re working through it, we’ve done a lot of research internationally by markets. And believe it or not, you can still do research during COVID. We’ve done quite a bit of it. But Star won’t look the same in every market.

So we will tailor it, how we’re going to market, how we’re launching, how we’re packaging. It’ll all be done on a basis which is appropriate for these major markets outside of the U.S.

More information on the upcoming Star platform and its international road map, will be revealed during Disney’s upcoming Investors Day event, though no date for that presentation has yet been announced.    Unlike Disney+, Star doesn’t look like it’s going to be a simple one size fits all platform, as we’ve already seen Disney+ Hotstar launch in India and Indonesia, which contains local content.  Which streaming services are required to offer in some regions, she explained:

now that we’re in a streaming world, a lot of the jurisdictions have much more defined local content requirements. So it’ll be a combination of what we will provide, just like when we used to sell content internationally to other people’s platforms. That content will be on as well as local. And once again, there will be the balance. And it depends on what market we’re in, but we know that every one of those markets, they like seeing content that is tailored to them as well as things that can travel around the world.

One key point about Star is “Episodic content”, which would seem to indicate Star is going to focus mainly on TV shows, rather than movies, which Disney+ is very focused on.


Disney CEO Bob Chapek had previously said that Star would be “fully integrated into our established Disney+ platform from both a marketing and a technology perspective”.  So will Star be an additional add-on within Disney+ or it’s own app?  It looks like Star will look different in nearly every market it launches in, unlike Disney+.

What do you think Star will be?

 












Roger Palmer

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. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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4 Comments

  1. ScionStorm September 11, 2020

    When you wish upon hotStar, Makes some difference where you are, Most of the shows your brain desires, Will Stream to you...

  2. Snorebutt September 11, 2020

    Why is this service called Star? I thought this was aimed for babies or little girls, but then I find out that it's got adult content. Why isn't it called "Disney+ Premium", or something? What, was calling it "Brick" too edgy? I live in Australia, and I only bought Disney Plus because I thought we were getting Hulu. Most of the 3rd party content on Hulu will NEVER appear on Netflix. And, now, it will never appear in Australia at all? And no, we're not getting HBOmax or Peacock ever. FOXTEL saw to that. Instead of Hulu, a brand Australia is very familiar with, we're getting this... "Star" thing from a brand I've never even heard of? Something about this doesn't add up. So, if we're not getting Hulu, then judging by what I've read on this article, that also means no Animaniacs reboot, no Solar Opposites, no 3rd party content you can't get on Netflix, NOTHING. This blows... That name better be a working title, though. Star sounds like it's for preschoolers, not violence seeking, noire styled, thriller binging mature fans.

    1. Manoel Pedro September 11, 2020

      Solar Opposites must come together, for example, Love, Victor and High Fidelity for being produced by 20th Television. Animaniacs reboot and third-party content will probably not come because they are not produced by the owner of Disney properties, because of bureaucracy and are also focused on adult content. They say Hulu is not an internationally known brand. I think it makes sense to have the name Star because it is easier to bring properties that Disney owns. Hulu is likely to be more like Star from 2024 as it is expected to lose third party content from other studios and Disney will have more 100 percent control over Hulu. It is my opinion I think.

      1. Manoel Pedro September 11, 2020

        Just a fix: High Fidelity is produced by ABC Signature Studios