Last year during the Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day, a new streaming service called Star+ was announced to be coming to Latin America in June 2021. Unlike in many countries around the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada, which had Star added to Disney+.
Disney wanted Star+ to be a separate standalone service, which would be the exclusive streaming home for general entertainment TV series and movies from The Walt Disney Company’s content studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, 20th Television, Touchstone, and more, and the home for streaming live sports from ESPN, the most respected and recognized brand for sports fans in the region. From dramas, to comedies, and thrillers for adults, Star+ will also feature exclusive original programming from the Star general entertainment brand, along with a collection of local originals.
And back in February, Disney rebranded its FOX TV channels to Star, but recently Disney announced that Star+ would be delayed and would launch in late August, due to issues with many sporting events being delayed.
But, there the issue might be much more serious than this, since earlier this year, Starz Entertainment (StarzPlay) filed a dispute for the registered trademark in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Stating that because StarzPlay and Star+ are in the same category, it will lead to people being confused. They’ve also opposed the trademarks for the Star Channel, Life, Hits, Fun, Action, Comedy and Classics and Premium channels.
Earlier this week, Lionsgate filed trademark infringement lawsuits against Disney in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, over the name, stating:
“Disney’s decision to launch a standalone general entertainment streaming service under the name ‘Star+’ and rename its existing channels to ‘Star’ in Latin America — despite the prior existence of and trademark registrations for Starz’s own similarly named StarzPlay general entertainment streaming service — is extremely likely to cause customer confusion in the Latin American marketplace and infringes on Starz’s marks. Such customer confusion can be impossible to remedy and will likely only increase as Disney launches its marketing blitz in those regions.”
A rep for Starz told TheWrap that Disney has five days from today to respond to the Brazil lawsuit.
Over the past few years, Disney has changed its international streaming strategy, originally Hulu was going to be distributed internationally, but due to Comcast still owning a 33% stake in the company, Star was created. With Star being integrated within Disney+ in many countries and Disney+ Hotstar launching in many countries within Asia, Disney might be forced to make another change in Latin America.
It’s not hard to see why people are confused, as I’ve seen confusion with fans on social media with so many variations of “Star”, including Star, Starz, HotStar, Starzplay and Star+.
Do you think Star+ and StarzPlay names are too close?