This past week, Disney officially announced the initial lineup of content coming to Disney+ for its new general entertainment brand “Star”, which will bring a huge expansion of TV series, movies and originals to subscribers in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland plus Australia, New Zealand, and Canada from 23rd February.
Star will include films and series from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios (20th Television and ABC Signature), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and more.
In the UK, Star will launch with over 75 TV series, more than 270 movies, with more set to be announced and new releases to follow each week. While in Australia and Canada, there will be around 500 titles added at launch. This is more than the UK is getting due to existing streaming contracts.
The addition of these shows and movies will add some much-needed content for teenagers and adults to Disney+. This is massively important for the future of Disney+ for several reasons.
While Disney+ has been a massive success, pulling in over 85 million subscribers worldwide within a year of its launch and the strength of Disney’s brand has been one of the reasons for this. With a massive collection of well-established franchises and a vast library, Disney+ is a huge hit with families and children. Still, one of the biggest problems Disney+ has, is appealing to the mainstream adult audience. It might have a vast library of National Geographic documentaries for adults, but there isn’t many drama series available that haven’t been on the Disney Channel.
In the first 15 months of Disney+ running, there have only been a handful of titles that appeal to older subscribers such as “The Right Stuff”, “Hamilton”, “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision”. This has led to many complaints that there isn’t anything for adults to watch and that subscribers cancel once they’ve watched what they wanted.
Losing subscribers quickly after they’ve finished a series or a film is a major problem for streaming platforms, which is why adding new content regularly is so important, since customers will cancel a subscription if they don’t think there is anything else to watch. I know many friends members who unsubscribed from Disney+ once the first season of “The Mandalorian” ended or only keep subscribing for their kids.
With over 1000 titles being added to Disney+ via the Star brand within the first year, including huge mainstream binge-able shows like “24”, “Lost”, “Desperate Housewives” and major franchises like “Die Hard”, “Aliens”, “Planets of the Apes” and “Predator”. This basically doubles the size of the Disney+ library and its content not aimed at children.
While many subscribers are happy with Disney+ being a “safe” place for kids to watch content, other streaming platforms like Netflix, NowTV and Amazon Prime have a wide selection of shows and movies, for all ages, something Disney+ didn’t have. Kids content is extremely important to all streaming services and is all investing heavily in new content for families, but Disney+ was too focused on this.
This Star expansion will make Disney+ much more compelling to adults and teenagers, which is exactly what it needs. It can’t just rely on Marvel and Star Wars to keep mainstream audiences around. Which is why the addition of over 35 “Star Originals” arriving on Disney+ in 2021, is just as important to the growth of Disney+. These are shows and films that will only be available on Disney+ in these countries.
With new content dropping onto Disney+ weekly, it makes keeping subscribers engaged, having people only logging in once a week for one show like “WandaVision” or “The Mandalorian”, then spotting other films or shows will keep them subscribed. Which is why Disney is adding Star to Disney+.
There are other important reasons for the expansion of Star, across Europe, streamers are required to have content available that is made locally and these rules are set to be introduced in Australia and Canada. It’s much easier for Disney to create original content or purchase content and put it under the “Star” banner, since it doesn’t have the “Disney” brand connected to it, which implies a certain quality.
With consumers only willing to have so many streaming services at once, having one single platform makes things much simpler and stronger. The addition of Star makes Disney+ much more comparable to Netflix or NowTV, it’s not just for kids anymore!
What do you think of the expansion of Star on Disney+?