Last summer, Disney launched a new Latin American streaming service called Star+, which includes fiction and non-fiction productions created entirely in Latin America, a wide offering of live sports from ESPN, news international original productions, 20th Television’s complete collection of animated comedies, exclusive movie premieres, and more. Star+ is available as a standalone service or as part of Combo+, a bundle with access to Disney+.
During the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Walt Disney Company, Christine McCarthy, took part in a Q&A session and was asked about Star+’s performance.
Yes, there is a conversion in Latin America in particular, it’s really a more deliberate shift from linear consumer to direct consumer. A lot of times, even if you have the — even if it costs nothing, if you have the linear feed and you can get the direct-to-consumer, human nature is that if you have to do something to enable it, you can do, or you can’t do it. And I think once again, as those linear channels fade away, consumers who were consuming that content will now shift to the direct-to-consumer model.
So we also have Disney+ there, we have Star Plus, we have great sports programming in Latin America. So it’s a different offer than what we have here in the United States. And there’s all kinds of – I mean, if we could have one thing that was consistent, it would make everyone’s life easier, including mine. But different regulations in different existing contracts and affiliate agreements just — we have a basic type of offer, but there are some nuances in each market. And in the Latin American market, there are a few different ones, as I mentioned, Disney+, Star Plus, and then a combo – a combo plus.
But I think Latin America will get there.
It’s interesting how Christine mentions, “if we could have one uniform thing, it would make everyone’s life easier”, because it seems like Disney has made their life a lot more complicated by having so many different streaming platforms, Disney+, Star+ , Hulu, Disney+ Hotstar, ESPN+, ESPN Player, Hotstar and others.
Although it would be a lot simpler if it was all inside one streaming service, which Netflix is doing, but it seems that Disney is still facing some legacy issues from launching a single streaming service in Latin America, particularly with regard to affiliation agreements and existing contracts. It was only recently that Disney was forced to sell several sports channels in Argentina to comply with merger laws from the purchase of 20th Century Fox.
Later this month, Disney is also shutting down more linear TV channels across Latin America as it drives audiences to its streaming services.
Much like with how Disney+ has changed globally, as contracts expire or are put in place by Disney, I suspect this will eventually happen in Latin America.
Would you like to see Disney+ and Star+ merge in Latin America?