Streaming Platform, Disney+ Enters 16 more markets across MENA
One of the leading global streaming companies, Walt Disney Company has announced its launch of Disney+ in 16 markets across the Middle East and North African region (MENA). This comes barely a month after the launch of Disney+ in South Africa.
The company has an ambitious goal of doubling the number of countries where Disney+ is available, having said it aims to have the service in over 160 countries by 2023. Disney+ announced the launch dates for 42 countries and territories, including the 16 that are a part of this new MENA launch earlier in March. The service will also be launched in more countries across Europe on June 14.
Disney+’s MENA offer includes the recently launched Marvel series Moon Knight, from Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, and Ms. Marvel, which premiered globally on the streamer this week and features Marvel’s first Muslim superhero. Its MENA subscribers will also access thousands of films, shows, and exclusive originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. This includes “Ms. Marvel,” “The Mandalorian,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “Moon Knight,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “The Dropout,” “The Kardashians” and more.
The 16 markets that Disney+ is entering are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen.
The subscribers in the MENA region will have a variant version of the Disney+ Hotstar app, which subscribers in India and South-East Asia also have. This means the service will be structured a little differently than in the U.S., as it will have a different user interface and a different login system that uses a mobile number instead of a Disney ID.
Disney+ Hotstar is the Indian streaming service and offers 100,000+ hours of content across nine languages, plus live sports programming (cricket, football, kabaddi, etc.).
Subscribers will have access to up to four simultaneous streams, unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, and a maximum of seven user profiles (including kids’ profiles that only have age-appropriate content).
In the year’s second quarter, Disney+ had 137.9 million subscribers worldwide, while Disney+ Hotstar had 50 million subscribers. The recent expansion puts the streamer in line to potentially succeed in its ambitious goal of reaching 230 to 260 million subscribers by 2024.
The company will be up against rivals including Netflix, Starzplay, and Amazon in the region, where Netflix currently leads the international SVOD pack, with more than 6.8 million subscribers, according to Digital TV Research quoted by Reuters. Starzplay ranks second with just under 2 million, followed by Amazon with 1.4 million.
Local rivals include MBC Group’s streaming platform, Shahid, which recently ordered an Arabic version of the comedy series The Office, and regional competitor OSN which has an Arabic version of US legal series Suits.
Also, the streaming company has announced that it had named Dana Walden as the new chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content. She will report directly to CEO Bob Chapek. As a continuation of the high-level executive restructuring that has taken place at Disney, Walden will be replacing Peter Rice, the former chairman that was suspected of being Chapek’s replacement.