Disney has confirmed plans to add an all-new streaming service to its existing Disney + app. The new option, named Star, will include more “mature” content commissioned by Walt Disney, including shows and films acquired with the purchase of 20th Century Studios in March 2019.
In addition to 20th Century Studios, Star was also part of the acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which was previously owned by Rupert Murdoch. Star is headquartered in Mumbai and has a network of 60 channels in eight languages. It currently reaches around nine out of ten cable and satellite television homes across India. Disney now plans to bring millions more to the brand by making them the face of all movies and shows developed for older viewers with its hugely successful Disney + streaming service.
Disney recently confirmed its plans on a call to investors. According to the US media company, the launch of Star in the UK, mainland Europe and other markets will double the amount of content available on Disney +. British fans will be among the first in the world to stream Star’s content when it appears on the Disney + app on February 23, 2021.
Star appears as a separate tile on the Disney + app home page. Disney + already has standalone tiles to access content from Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, Pixar and National Geographic, so no redesign or drastic changes are required to introduce the new option. People with younger viewers at home can block access to Star by turning off Mature Content.
Certain shows and films can also be blocked using an age rating feature, Disney has confirmed.
Unlike rival Netflix, which catered to teens and adults from launch – before later adding a closed kids section with educational content for younger viewers – Disney appealed to the whole family from launch. Without much of the original content (at least compared to Prime Video and Netflix) when it launched in the UK in March, Disney + gained a staggering number of subscribers from its unmatched content library, including animated Walt Disney classics, Pixar Studio films and that entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During its recent investor appeal, Disney assured shareholders that a truckload of original content was planned for its streaming service, including 10 shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 10 shows in the world of Star Wars, 15 series based on Disney animation and Pixar characters. In addition, 15 original films have been confirmed exclusively for Disney +.
To ensure Disney + appeals to more audiences, Disney announced the arrival of Star. According to the company, Star will be “home to thousands of hours of television and movies from Disney’s creative studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios and 20th Television”. However, Disney kept abreast of details.
That said, it’s not hard to imagine a slew of classic movie franchises like Alien, Die Hard, Kingsmen, and Planet of the Apes coming to the Star tab in Disney +, as well as dozens of box sets including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X Files, and Family Guy. Whether Disney plans to release exclusive shows and films in these worlds remains to be seen. However, this could be a surefire way to ensure that older viewers continue to pay the monthly subscription fee.
The arrival of Star also paves the way for a number of shows from Hulu – a US-only streaming service owned and operated by Disney – to finally hit the UK. Hulu originals include such as All the best, Victor, a spin-off series set in the same world as the hit 2018 movie All the best, Simon and Solar Opposites that was created by Rick and Morty Co-creator Justin Roiland and became the most streamed title on Hulu after its release. Despite this viewership, it never aired in the UK.
“In terms of general international entertainment, we want to reflect our successful Disney Plus strategy by leveraging our Disney Plus technical platform, bringing in existing content and distributing it under a successful international brand that we already own. Of course, Star, ”Disney CEO Bob Chapek told investors.
Disney + costs £ 5.99 a month, although you can save money by paying £ 59.99 upfront for a full year of streaming. Disney + offers a streaming app for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, Roku set-top boxes and Sky Q.