On February 23rd 2021, Disney launched a general entertainment tab as the sixth “core brand” on Disney+ (outside the US and Latin America), which offers titles from Disney’s General Entertainment brands like ABC, FX and 20th Century Studios; this hub is called “Star”.
One recent criticism of the “Star” hub is it offers so many titles from different networks and studios, that it has become a slog to navigate. As there are more films and shows in the Star brand hub than in the other five brand hubs combined. Plus it’s only getting bigger each week.
So let me explain why Disney should improve the “Star” hub and add more “core brands” for content from other Disney subsidiaries.
All of these new “core brands”, which I am mentioning in this article, should be added to Disney+ worldwide.
Core Brand Number Six: ABC/Freeform
With Disney owning hundreds of series which fall under the ABC brand, in my home country of the UK, we have ABC shows like “Big Sky”, “Lost”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Modern Family” and “Blackish” available through the “Star” brand, so why not give ABC it’s own dedicated hub? Better yet, Disney could add Freeform content into this section, as initially, the Freeform channel was called ABC Family. Now there would be some notable exemptions from this section like “The Muppets” as they are full marketed as a “Disney” franchise now, as well as any other content that was created for ABC but carries the “Disney” name on its branding.
Since Freeform isn’t a global brand on its own, so I’d add Freeform shows and movies into this hub as well. This would include shows like “Good Trouble”, “The Fosters”, “Single Drunk Female” and “Grownish”, which could fit in with shows produced by sister network ABC.
However, there could be a problem using ABC as a brand globally, for example, in Australia, there is already a different ABC (Australian Broadcast Company), so if Disney were to use the ABC name in Australia, then Disney would need to make some type of deal or rebrand to avoid confusion.
Core Brand Number Seven: 20th Century Studios/Searchlight Pictures
Let’s talk about an obvious one, 20th Century Studios should have its own hub, which includes content from other assets acquired through the 2019 Disney/20th Century Fox merger. Disney could utilise this hub for people to find content from 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Television. Some titles Disney could put under this hub includes “The Simpsons”, “Avatar”, “Alita Battle Angel”, “Home Alone”, “Mrs Doubtfire”, “The Book Of Life”, and “Night At The Museum”.
20th Century has produced a lot of content over the years, and having a dedicated hub to be able to search through their history of classic movies and modern blockbusters, much like you can do with the “Disney” hub then I don’t see why they can’t do this for 20th Century Studios. 20th Century needs its own hub as the “Star” hub is too cluttered, and movies from 20th Century are mixed with films from Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and ABC.
Core Brand Number Eight: FX
This one is probably the most likely to happen, for those that don’t know FX is a premium cable channel, similar to HBO. FX has become known for programming like “American Horror Stories”, “Dave”, “Atlanta”, and “What We Do In The Shadows” over the years and used to have its own streaming app called FX+. Now, why is this tab more likely than some of the others? It’s simple really, John Landgraf (FX’s chairman) and Rebecca Campbell (Head of Disney Direct-To-Consumer International) have both said they want FX to become a “Global Brand”.
Disney+’s sister service Hulu already offers an FX collection, and Disney+ has been growing globally so, why not give people the ability to discover FX’s premium content under its own banner? It makes too much sense not to happen.
Core Brand Number Nine: Hotstar
Now I know what some of you are thinking, wait, Hotstar? Isn’t that the South East Asia version of Disney+? Yes, it is, but Hotstar is also a standalone streaming service primarily focused on content from South-East Asia countries, especially content produced in India. Hotstar operates in the UK, Canada and Singapore as a standalone service. The service operated in the US until late 2021 where it was shuttered, and the content was moved to Hulu. The reason I feel Disney should utilise the Hotstar brand on Disney+ as a potential way to expose its Hotstar content to a new audience.
Disney owns Hotstar, UTV Communications and Star India and all of their subsidiaries, so Disney has been able to grab many titles from India. Some titles Disney owns thanks to these acquisitions include, “Chance Pe Dance”, “Kai Po Che!”, and “Fitoor”, all of which could be distributed worldwide through Hotstar hub on Disney+. Disney has already moved all of the Hotstar content in the US into Hulu, so why not do the same internationally with the standalone Hotstar service in the remaining countries it operates in and just add the content under a tab within Disney+? It makes it easier for consumers to enjoy and discover this content across the globe.
Core Brand Number Ten: Star
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking, but let me explain. This whole article has been discussing new “Core Brands” within Disney+, which would be used to slim down how much content is shoved under the “Star” banner. So if Disney integrates the other banners mentioned in this article then, what would this potential new “Star” banner be populated with? Basically, any content that doesn’t fit in with the other brands.
If Disney takes this article as a bit of advice and integrates all these brands, then Disney+ would have the following “Core Brands”.
- Star Wars
- National Geographic
- ABC (including Freeform’s content)
- 20th Century Studios (including Searchlight and 20th Television content)
Now you could merge Hotstar into this new “Star” tab, which would have the same effect. This tab would be made of content that doesn’t fit with the over brands so shows like “Pam and Tommy” and “The D’amelio Show” as well as upcoming series which are available on Disney+ in certain regions like “Snowdrop” and “Tokyo MER”.
Since Disney+ hasn’t fully gotten into the sports space in most countries, making an ESPN hub might be confusing for some users, but with dozens of ESPN documentaries available on Disney+ in the UK, the Star hub could also be a home for this content. Until Disney is ready to add live sports into Disney+ around the world , a ESPN hub might have some issues.
Star could also be an excellent place to put films from Disney’s other mature studios, such as Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Buena Vista. Disney used these brands for over thirty years, but now they have 20th Century Studios, they have stopped using this branding, and the TV studios have merged with 20th TV.
They put out Touchstone movies like “Splash”, “Strange Magic”, “Confessions Of A Shopaholic”, and “Gnomeo and Juliet”. In addition to films from Hollywood Pictures like “Ernest Saves Christmas” and “While You Were Sleeping”.
It could also be an excellent place to add third-party licensed content, with films and shows made by other companies.
Disney+ has always meant Disney “plus” more, but its “core brands” have never really conveyed that. When Disney added the “Star” hub within Disney+, it felt as if Disney had added a mini Netflix within its Disney+ app. However, the biggest downside has been navigating the “Star” hub due to how much content they label under that banner.
This article merely suggests what Disney can do to improve the “core brand” collections to make it easier to find content. Personally, I think Disney should have two rows of “core brands” on the homepage; on the first row, one would be Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Hulu/Star. Disney+ would have the ABC, 20th Century Studios, FX, and Hotstar hubs in the second row.
I wrote this to convey my frustration with using the “Star” hub. If Disney doesn’t want to give all the brands listed above their own Disney+ tab on the homepage, the least Disney could do is to put a mini homepage within the “Star” hub for ABC, FX, 20th Century Studios, and Hotstar.
Either way, Disney needs to make the collection of content under “Star” more straightforward to find throughout Disney+. I feel as if doing something to the “Star” hub to make content easier to find within the hub would be helpful for many subscribers.
What Do You Think? Should Disney+ Ditch The “Star” Brand?