- Disney delays French launch of Disney+ until 7 April
- Delay follows request by French government due to coronavirus
- Disney+ to launch in rest of Europe with bandwidth limited at EU request
Disney has delayed the launch of its new streaming service in France and will cut bandwidth utilisation in other European countries when it launches tomorrow.
Disney+ will launch across Europe tomorrow, on 24 March, however the company has agreed to delay its French launch until 7 April because of concerns over bandwidth usage amid the coronavirus crisis.
Disney has also followed the likes of Netflix and YouTube in agreeing to limit streaming quality across its OTT platform in order to ease strain on telecoms networks that are facing increased usage due to lockdowns caused by the spread of Covid-19.
In a statement, Walt Disney chairman of direct to consumer and international Kevin Mayer said it is responding to a request from European Union officials, who called on streamers to limit bandwidth utilisation on their platforms.
“In line with Disney’s longstanding commitment to act responsibly, we are responding to the request of European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton to work together to ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure,” said Mayer’s statement.
“In anticipation of high consumer demand for Disney+, we are proactively instituting measures to lower our overall bandwidth utilisation by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th.
“In the coming days, we will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand. We look forward to the launch of Disney+ and hope it will provide a much-needed respite for families in these challenging and trying times.”
The French government reportedly requested that Disney delays the launch of its new platform in the country.
Mayer added: “To our French fans, the Disney+ service is coming, but at the request of the French government, we have agreed to postpone the launch until Tuesday, 7 April 2020.”
When Disney+ launched in the US in November, more than 28 million people signed up to the service within the first three months. With more people at home during the coronavirus, reports claiming streamers could benefit, as audiences tune in to on-demand platforms. Nielsen has predicted that video streaming is to rise by 60% during the current global coronavirus pandemic.
- Read more: Coronavirus to spike streaming
OTTs reduce bitrates in battle against coronavirus
Disney isn’t the only streaming platform to agree to a bitrate reduction following a request from the EU.
Last week Apple and Amazon also announced plans to turn down the streaming video quality on their respective video platforms in order to lighten the load on internet providers across Europe.
This followed similar announcements from Netflix and YouTube earlier in the week.
Facebook has also made similar commitments for its video services.
“To help alleviate any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.
- Read more: Netflix and YouTube reduce stream quality