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Disney+ Accelerates Its European Invasion

Disney+ will stream into more of Europe a week ahead of schedule.

The Mouse announced that Disney+, its new OTT-delivered SVoD service, will launch on March 24 in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland, a week earlier than originally expected. Disney+ will launch in Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal sometime this summer.

Disney+ has already launched in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.

Thanks in part to pre-launch signups, Disney+ debuted in the US last November with about 10 million subscribers. The Mouse hopes to continue that momentum as it prepares to debut in parts of Western Europe on March 24.
Thanks in part to pre-launch signups, Disney+ debuted in the US last November with about 10 million subscribers. The Mouse hopes to continue that momentum as it prepares to debut in parts of Western Europe on March 24.

For the expanded launch into western Europe, Disney+ confirmed a price of £5.99/€6.99 ($7.83) per month and £59.99/€69.99 ($78.37) on an annual basis, slightly more than its base pricing in the US ($6.99 per month or $69.99 per year).

Why this matters
The extra week will give Disney+ a bit more time to beef up its subscriber base as it pushes forth with a global, direct-to-consumer streaming strategy that will expand the reach of a VoD library that features films, TV shows, documentaries and originals such as The Mandalorian from its primary franchises -- Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

The accelerated move into western Europe also gives Disney+ a leg up on other SVoD services that are nearing their US launch and plan to follow with launches into other countries while also attempting to catch up to two major streaming service that already enjoy global scale -- Netflix and Amazon. Among the new entrants, NBCU's Peacock will launch on Comcast systems on April 15 and reach a full US launch on July 15. HBO Max, the super-sized SVoD service from WarnerMedia, is set to debut in the US sometime in May 2020.

In the US, Disney+ bolted from the blocks, announcing it had 10 million subscribers when the service launched on November 12, 2019, a number that included millions of pre-launch sign-ups and subs that came way of a bundling deal with Verizon. Disney will announce updated Disney+ subscriber numbers when it posts fiscal Q1 2020 results on Tuesday, February 4.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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