Disney launches Star+ in Brazil and consolidates streaming offer

NEW YORK – With the new Star+, which debuts this Tuesday (31) in Brazil, Disney completes the full offer of its streaming services. Star+ includes adult-oriented content such as movies and series that wouldn’t fit on Disney+, as well as original Hulu and ESPN productions.

The monthly subscription fee for Star+ is R$ 32.90. Disney+ costs R$27.90 monthly. If you buy a package with both, the consumer spends R$ 45.90 per month.

Hernan Estrada, president of Disney’s Brazilian operation, claims to be aware of the “price sensitivity” of consumers. With the multiplication of streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Telecine, HBO Max, among others -, the monthly bill starts to gain size.

Estrada says he believes that, at some point, prices will all fall into line, and consumers will make choices based on the content offered. “We are going to offer a complete library”, says the executive.

One of the bets of the new service is the presence of ESPN. The American network, which calls itself the “world leader in sports”, holds the rights to broadcast championships such as Copa Libertadores and Campeonato Inglês, as well as games in American basketball (NBA) and American football (NFL) leagues.

One of the great challenges of streaming services around the world is to offer exclusive content. Traditionally, they have taken the form of original blockbuster series – like HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Another competition takes place in the purchase of exclusive rights to exhibit classics. It is speculated that Netflix paid $500 million to be the worldwide repository for the sitcom Seinfeld.

A third dispute that emerges is for the rights of sporting events. Amazon holds the rights to Ligue 1, the French first division and home of PSG, the team that brought Messi and Neymar together – in Brazil, Star+ will show the championship games. In the United States, Jeff Bezos’ company also broadcasts some football matches.

Estrada says that, at first, Star+ will not join the fight for the rights of Brazilian football. “We don’t rule out the idea, but the priority is to offer content that complements ESPN’s pay TV,” he says.

A possible slowdown in streaming with the prospect of control over the pandemic is also not a cause for concern.

The company does not disclose numbers for Brazil. Globally, the Disney+ service reached 116 million users, according to the quarterly results released on August 12th.

The initial expectation was to reach 100 million customers in five years, but the result was reached in just nine months, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The emphasis on online subscription services is part of a survival strategy. Profit from TV operations has been declining over the past few years, with more and more customers simply switching from pay TV to streaming.

But Disney+ is still a smaller business than traditional TV – and loss-making. The streaming division lost $300 million in the second quarter of the year.

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