Breaking a tradition at Disney – The American media giant will start producing content in foreign languages for the first time in a series, in the first phase in Europe, in favor of the streaming service Disney Plus.
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The aim is of course to expand the potential target audience of the service in Europe. Disney president Jan Koeppen told the Financial Times that future subscribers from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands would give Disney Plus a strong boost. He said the service plans 50 original foreign-language content productions by 2024.
Disney’s decision, and long before the similar decisions made by Netflix and Amazon, reflects the move Hollywood made – no longer based on selling licenses to local parties, but creating content designed to compete with veteran European producers for the hearts of viewers on the continent.
“Streaming has become an important part of our lives, we are going for it. In Europe in particular streaming has entered the mainstream and we are there,” said Kaufen. Disney’s bet on streaming Disney Plus, which has been running for about a year, has completely proven itself, recording an impressive success. As of the end of 2020, the service has 95 million subscribers worldwide. The target set by the company is 250 million subscribers by 2024.
It is estimated that out of that number, 13 million Disney Plus subscribers are from Europe – compared to 63 million Netflix subscribers on the continent. Disney’s program includes, like Netflix from Amazon, not only the creation of new content in foreign languages but also the purchase of original content initiated by local productions.
This is Disney’s biggest expansion in non-English languages. Kaufen, a German-born native of Brussels – a former Fox executive – said that in some European markets, the penetration of streaming was slower, especially in southern countries, led by Spain and Italy. “But slowly, market after market, we were able to launch the service.”
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