Over the years, Netflix has mastered dubbing its content in dozens of languages before releasing them globally on the same day (mostly). Disney+ came onto the scene back in 2019 and became a tremendous competitor with the span of a single day. However, one thing Disney+ has struggled with is dubbing its content, and today I’m going to explain why Disney needs to fix this.
The biggest problem with subtitles is that people who have bad eyesight or are blind, will either struggle or can’t read subtitles. Whilst subtitles are excellent for people within the deaf community. It isn’t as convenient for people within the blind community who cannot see the subtitles. Accessibility is a significant factor in why all international content needs dubbing.
Another issue that affects many people is poor reading skills or just an inability to read. Since how is someone who struggles to read going to read subtitles? Especially if the subtitles are moving at a fast rate. A dubbed option is the only way they can enjoy international content.
While content creators might want all their viewers to be sat paying close attention to the shows and films they’ve made. In reality, many viewers watch TV with one eye on another screen, be it a laptop while they work, an iPad, Nintendo Switch or their mobile phone. A few members of the What’s On Disney Plus team have told me they’ve not watched “Snowdrop”, because it’s a huge time commitment to dedicate their entire focus on. But with a dubbed show, it’s something you can put on in the background or do other things while watching, because the dubbing means you can take your eyes away from the screen.
Netflix Does It So Why Can’t Disney?:
Netflix’s international content, such as “Lupin” and “Squid Game”, have become major hits over the past few years despite not being initially developed in Netflix’s home territory of the US. Now with the recent formation of Disney’s International Group, which is in charge of developing and releasing international content for Disney+, hopefully, all of the future international releases will be available globally at the same time, should become the standard. Disney is a bigger company than Netflix, so dubbing all of its content should be easier as they have more resources at their disposal.
One of the strange things about how Disney is releasing its international content, is for some shows, they do it globally at the same time and then for others, they don’t. Back on Disney+ Day in 2021, we saw a new original series called “Intertwined” added to Disney+ in many countries, including the US and the UK. While two new Korean series, “Grid” and “Rookie Cops”, have only been released across the Asia/Pacific region, but not in other countries. And only this month, we’ve seen “Weekend Family” released with dubbing straight away. So if they can do it for one show, why can’t they do it for all the international originals?
This situation should also go the other way, as recently, some US content like “The Ice Age Adventures Of Buck Wild” was delayed for Europe and the Pacific. And this is also impacting on many Star Originals like “How I Met Your Father”.
This Could Unfortunately Lead To Delays:
The only real downside to Disney dubbing all their international shows is simple. It could lead to delays meaning the shows are released weeks or even months after the release in the countries they were filmed in. One example of an international show that was delayed for a few months but was not dubbed was “Snowdrop”, which arrived in countries like the UK and the US roughly four months after premiering in South Korea. However, the series wasn’t dubbed like many Korean shows are, when they are released outside of their country of origin.
However, as Disney revs up its internation production and gets into better routines, this should hopefully become less of an issue. Global releases benefit from social media discussion, which takes place on an open international forum. When a series or film is delayed in some regions, it will naturally lose momentum, as subscribers can’t take part in the discussion but, more importantly, feel disconnected and annoyed that they can’t watch what other people are.
As Disney+ continues to grow and produce more content, they need to make it available to as broad an audience as possible. The best way to make any new originals coming from Asia, Europe, or the Americas to reach a wider audience would be to dub them in as many languages as possible. In recent years genres like anime, K-dramas and J-dramas have become major genres for Netflix.
A series like “Snowdrop”, which has some big Korean stars attached to the series, failed to catch on like Netflix’s “Squid Game”, the main reason for this is most probably the lack of a dubbed version for the series. If Disney wants to make these international productions become global hits, they’ll need to make them available in a broad number of languages in both subtitles and dubs.
What Do You Think? Should Disney Dub All Their International Originals?