A little too late?
Disney Plus is arguably the most highly-anticipated streaming service ever. It is slated to launch in selected countries this November (the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands on 12 November 2019, Australia and New Zealand on 19 November 2019). However, other regions will likely have to wait a lot longer for Disney Plus to officially arrive in their territories, especially Southeast Asia.
According to a report by consultancy and research house Media Partners Asia (via Variety), total online video revenue in Asia Pacific is projected to increase by 24 percent in 2019, reaching US$27 billion of advertising and subscription revenue.
The growth is attributed to various factors, including rising investment and competition, better broadband access and development of local content, as well as improving payment infrastructure and IP protection.
Disney Plus is reportedly launching in Japan sometime in 2020, while new entry markets in 2021 are predicted to include Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Keep in mind that these are calculated projections by industry analysts and not meant to be actual launch dates provided by Disney.
In comparison, rivals Netflix launched in the US in 2007 before starting their international expansion with Canada in 2010, with Southeast Asia only receiving the streaming service in 2015/2016. Meanwhile, Apple TV Plus is slated to launch simultaneously worldwide (including Southeast Asia) on 1 November 2019.
Why Is Disney Plus Taking So Long To Launch In Southeast Asia?
It was a very different landscape and market when Netflix launched years ago, Although it took them many years for worldwide expansion, they had the luxury of taking it slow, due to the lack of competition and their dominance. Their late entry into Southeast Asia was excusable.
However, the situation has now changed. With competitors like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus and more, Disney Plus can’t exactly afford to delay their international expansion. Besides, if Apple TV Plus can launch worldwide simultaneously, why can’t Disney Plus (with all its resources) do the same thing?
I really hope that the projected 2021 launch for Disney Plus turns out to be proven wrong. Disney would benefit more from ensuring that Disney Plus is officially available in as many regions as possible, in order to lessen piracy and increase the chance of them making an impact in today’s crowded streaming market.
With upcoming shows like The Mandalorian and multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe spinoff series in development (not to mention all the other planned content not related to Star Wars or Marvel), there’s definitely enough exclusive and worthwhile content to attract subscribers.
In the end, accessibility and availability are vital for the long-term success of Disney Plus, especially if its hopes to come out on top against its fiercest rivals. A streaming war is coming, and Disney Plus can’t just rely on exclusive content alone to survive (or maybe it can), we’ll have to wait and see.