Disney +, Disney’s streaming service, welcomed a new expansion called STAR a few days ago. This section aims to provide denser and more mature content to overcome what is considered to be the overly familial approach of the platform. Therefore, it contains a large number of additional films and series. But what does STAR really bring to Disney +? We will try to answer them.
Before you hesitate about what the STAR tab will bring to Mickey’s platform, a little contextualization is in order. Disney + was born from a reflection that began in 2015 because, like any Disney company, needs to evolve, adapt. Viewers lost interest in pay channels like ESPN (a sports channel owned by the company), unless they changed they went straight to the wall. For the company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, the observation was clear: the public’s habits had changed and it was necessary to adjust. Disney is not in its first trial with Disney +, in fact, in certain countries, the company had launched DisneyLife, a form of Disney + beta, with a reduced catalog and very few exclusive products. Then there was the gradual investment in BAMTech, a company specializing in streaming sports events, to become the majority shareholder. While Netflix opened the ball in the early 2010s, Disney also invested in Hulu, a major SVoD platform, in 2009. With the 2019 acquisition of Fox, also a shareholder of Hulu, the company’s stake rose from 30% to 60%, with the remainder owned by Comcast, a direct competitor during negotiations to acquire Fox. In 2020 Disney + hits the streaming arena and, according to the New York Times, is not skimming on its showcase budget to produce the first season of the series from the universe of Georges Lucas and the content that launched the platform: The Mandalorians. The Marvel series, on the other hand, enjoy $ 25 million for certain episodes of Wanda Vision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Hawkeye, or possibly a $ 150 million budget for a season. And now, almost a year after entering the SvoD arena, Disney + is arriving with STAR.
Star, what is it?
STAR is a new streaming offering built into Disney + ‘s thumbnail continuity from Disney, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic. In short, STAR is a “more mature” area of the platform. The latter is speeding up Disney and is no longer satisfied with relying on the spirit of family entertainment. STAR adds content from Hulu, Hollywood Pictures, FX or even 21st Century Fox, but in addition to offering cult films and series, STAR also includes original productions, including two original French creations: Oussekine, a 4-episode mini-series on the Malik Oussekine affair, which examines the circumstances and their impact on the victim’s family life, then Soprano à la vie, à la mort, a documentary series that traces the life of the successful singer. Two European series were also “teased”, including Parallèles and Weekend Family. Also announced were titles such as: The Good Mothers, an Italian series based on a true story that shows three women who want to overthrow the deadliest and richest of the Italian mafia clans: Boris, Ignorant Angels, Sam – The Saxon, Sultan City or even Feyenoord Rotterdam, which will soon arrive on STAR. Also note that in the long term, 24 films and 21 French series will enrich Disney +’s offering in 2021. All of this underscores the company’s real desire to diversify, attract more viewers and therefore face stiff competition from big giants like Netflix. Finally, STAR is also a good excuse for Disney to justify the increase in the monthly price from € 6.99 to € 8.99 as the annual subscription increases from € 69.99 to € 79.99. Good news for the lucky ones who subscribed to the offer before February 23, 2021 can still benefit from the old tariff until August 2021, i.e. H. Savings of € 20 to € 24, which are by no means negligible!
And the interest of the offer?
In total, STAR means no less than 250 films, 40 series and numerous documentaries from the entertainment giant’s studios to be added to the SVoD catalog. Regarding the series, the platform has big hits including: Desperate Housewives, 24 Hour Chrono, X-Files in 16: 9, Grey’s Anatomy, Prison Break, Lie to Me How I Met your Mother, new one Girls, Lost qui highlighted the revival of the TV series in the early 2000s etc, as well as the integrals of Futurama and Scrubs, a humorous and moving medical series that was not found on any other streaming platform and therefore is currently a real asset to Disney + represents. Other exclusive products are also added: Love, Victor, Helstorm, Big Sky and finally Solar Opposite, an animated Hulu sitcom animated by the makers of Rick & Morty Aliens, Logan, Deadpool, The Circle of Missing Poets with Robin Williams , Open Grave by Martin Scorsese, the Farrelly brothers’ films with Common Ground, The Hill Has Eyes by Alexander Aja, Alone on Mars by Ridley Scott, the satirical film about dictatorship: Starship Trooper, etc. STAR has more than one trick though up your sleeve and can tempt moviegoers to offer iconic films from the ’80s and’ 90s to discover or rediscover, such as: The Adventures of Jack Burton, an uninhibited comedy starring Kurt Russell directed by John Carpenter Can’t Buy Me . I love a 1987 American teen film that marks the debut of Patrick Dempsey, famous for his role as Dr. Sheperd in Grey’s Anatomy. In short, a stuck young student can no longer stand being seen as a loser and dreams of becoming a “cool kid”. He makes a deal with the most popular girl in high school, Cindy Mancini, who is none other than his secret love. For a month and at a cost of $ 1000, he masquerades as her boyfriend and begins to be a star on campus. Obviously nothing is going as planned. On the thriller side, just to name him, we have La main sur le cradle (The Hand That Shakes the Cradle), directed by Curtis Hanson. Rebecca De Mornay plays the role of the cruel widow who seeks revenge for the character of Claire after forcing her husband to commit suicide. In search of Richard with Al Pacino on the poster and behind the camera, the film tells the meanders of a director who Richard III. would like to adapt to the theater On the one hand, a reconstruction of Richard III. and on the other the figure of Al Pacino, who sneaks up on the adaptation of the work. Little pearls like this, there are so many others, while many said there was nothing to discover except Mandalorian, the Star Wars spin-off series. We’re denoting a real desire from Mickey’s company to highlight films that certainly won’t hit everyone at the box office, but that still deserve a second chance. The only disadvantage of the overall offer: some series are also available via other platforms such as Prime Video, Salto (the French SVoD service), Canal on Demand or even Netflix, which limits the interest of the offer.
On the way to a bright future for Mickey?
Source: Netflix, Bloomberg, Forbes Now let’s look at some numbers: Netflix ended 2020 with 204 million subscribers, up from 94.9 million for Disney + in February 2021, putting the latter in third place just behind Amazon Prime overall 150 million subscribers in 2020. These numbers should not be underestimated, as Disney + has reached almost half of Netflix subscribers in just under a year of availability. On the other hand, it took Netflix ten years to reach more than 200 million subscribers. The question we can ask ourselves is: will Disney + ultimately dethrone Netflix? This is very likely, as with video game consoles, that streaming services have exclusive products, films and series that we find on one side and not on the other, which will ultimately influence our choice of platforms. Indeed, the centuries-old brand has a timeless catalog of their great classics which are their animated films. With big names like: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Aladdin, Mulan, the Lion King, etc. There is no doubt that the Disney aura will continue to appeal to both nostalgic and young enthusiasts and will prove to be a real asset for parents who no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars on Blu-rays or DVDs to discover these great classics for their descendants. In addition, the pandemic we are going through today is preventing movie theater visits and Disney has responded by bringing us Soul, the newest Pixar, directly through its SVoD service and at no additional cost. Although Netflix has myriad features, starting with the ergonomics of its user interface, which has often been copied but never matched, or the variety of content it offers, the studio’s big-eared platform launch was not without its drawbacks. In fact, the arrival of Disney + marked the end of a productive collaboration that brings Netflix $ 150-300 million each year. Eventually Disney also cut production on Marvel series like Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, The Defenders and Iron Fist to bring them home. It may therefore be that the big SVoD giant is up against a big competitor who certainly didn’t run but got off to a good start. In conclusion, the STAR tab could add value to Disney + in many ways. Indeed, while some might complain about the poor catalog of exclusive products or the brand’s family character. Disney has bounced back by adding programs adapted to a more mature audience, fans of the seventh art whose numbers cannot be beaten. Additionally, Disney + can claim to have been the exclusive delivery platform for big budget productions namely: Artemis Fowl, Mulan (live action) and Pixar’s newest Baby Soul. The classics Mandalorian and Disney are no longer the only showcases for SVoD’s service. Additionally, Netflix may have found a worthy challenger to pursue with its caliber in the relatively near future.