Disney Australia/New Zealand is using its social media platforms to promote a raft of original shows including the $120 million Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian which will premiere on Disney+ when the direct-to-consumer service launches next Tuesday.
The company will be hoping for a similar response to the North American launch last Tuesday when 10 million people signed up – but without the technical glitches.
Many users reported they had trouble either finding the service, downloading it or getting it to work at all.
“The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them. We appreciate your patience,” said a US Disney rep.
In Australia Disney+ will cost $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year, undercutting Netflix, which charges $9.99 a month for the standard feed and $13.95 for HD, and Stan which is $10 basic (one screen), $14 standard (three screens) and $17 for premium (four, HD).
That’s cheaper than the US fee of $US6.99 per month or US$69.99 per year. At launch the platform will offer around 300 movies (compared with 500 in the US) and 7,500 TV episodes drawn from the company’s vast array of Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel Studios’ series and movies as well as classic animated shows and its recently acquired 21st Century Fox library.
On social media Disney gave the most prominence to the Jon Favreau-directed The Mandalorian, which stars Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal as a lone Mandalorian gunfighter operating in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
The first episode has an 86 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, typified by the Los Angeles Times’ Lorraine Ali, who said it’s “long on impressive special effects and alien shootouts, and short on a fresh story line beyond the usual unwitting hero with a mysterious family tree and a destiny that involves saving the universe (or part of it).”
She added: “I have no idea what the series is about, at least not yet. But it looked cool, like a trip to Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge without the long lines and screaming children.”
Among the Marvel Studios’ shows highlighted are The Falcon and the Winter Solider featuring Anthony Mackie as Falcon and Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier; Hawkeye starring Jeremy Renner; WandaVision with Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as The Vision; and Loki starring Tom Hiddleston.
The line-up includes all 30 seasons of The Simpsons plus Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, mockumentary High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Noelle, Monsters at Work and Timmy Failure.
Conspicuously missing is Ludo Studio’s Bluey because Disney does not have the rights to the ABC hit in Australia/New Zealand or greater China.
The studio is investing about $1 billion in original content for Disney+ in 2020, rising to $2.5 billion by 2024 when it expects the service to start generating profits with 60 million – 90 million subscribers.
The UK-based Digital TV Research predicts Disney+ will attract more than 100 million subscribers by 2025 – bigger than Apple TV+, HBO Max (which won’t enter Australia for at least a couple of years) and NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
But it won’t match the global streaming leader Netflix, which Digital TV Research expects will add 70 million subs in that period to the current 158 million.