In Europe, the company Walt disney is breaking with tradition and increasing productions in the local language, as it seeks to broaden the appeal of the streaming Disney Plus beyond families.
Jan Keoppen, Disney’s president in Europe, said the commissions from France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands will help fuel the streaming “rocket” with 50 original series expected by 2024.
Disney’s commitment to non-English-spoken shows reflects the profound change in the European media market, as Hollywood’s big players went from licensing content to competing directly with national broadcasters for media. viewers and buy more local productions.
“Streaming really became an important part of our lives,” said Koeppen, the first European to lead Disney’s media operation on the continent. “We upped the ante. Let’s go for it. Certainly from the perspective In Europe, streaming is increasingly popular and here we are ”.
The changes mark the second phase of the company’s bet on Disney Plus. The yearlong service was successful, but it must find ways to maintain momentum, expand its audience to a broader source of viewers, and increase prices. ”
Disney Plus, which posted an operating loss of $ 466 million in the last three months of 2020, has 95 million subscribers worldwide, and is targeting about 250 million by 2024. Ampere Analysis, a Data and research firm estimates that 13 million of Disney’s current subscribers are in Europe, compared to 63 million Netflix users.
Following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon Prime, Disney is also investing in European content, with commissions ranging from an Italian mafia drama series, to a Dutch soccer documentary and some UK productions, which are yet to be announced. .
Although it’s a fraction of Netflix’s local production plans, they represent Disney’s largest expansion into non-English-speaking productions.
In the past, Disney produced some films developed in the United States (US) – such as The Return of Mary Poppins and Black Widow – abroad, while 21st Century Fox commissioned smaller productions for television channels such as National Geographic and Fox in Turkey. “We are definitely going to do this in a much more categorical way than before,” Keoppen said.
Keoppen, a former Fox executive, acknowledged that there was resistance to streaming in some mainland markets, especially southern Europe. “But then, slowly, market by market, they also started. Spain, which got off to a slow start, is completely here. Italy too, where people always said, ‘oh no, it works differently,’ ”he said.
To appeal to a more adult audience, Disney last Tuesday added the Star brand to Disney Plus in Europe, a general entertainment selection to complement the family-friendly core offerings of Star Wars, Marvel y Disney.
New releases like the crime drama Big Sky and the adult animated series Solar Opposites will be featured on Star along with classics like Modern Family, the 24 Hours series and other films from the 21st Century Fox library, which Walt Disney will provide. bought Rupert Murdoch in 2019.
Keoppen declined to disclose Disney’s spending plans for the European originals, but said they will be substantial, with ambitions for top-tier projects not just reaching local markets, but globally.
Among the 10 projects that were announced were Jörg Winger’s Sam – A Saxon, a drama about Germany’s first black cop produced by the creator of Deutschald 83. On the French list is Oussekine, a miniseries about the death of a Franco-Algerian student protesting in 1986, created by Antoine Chevrollier, the director of Le Bureau des Légendes.
Global streaming services debuted at very competitive rates, but began to increase subscription prices in Europe and the United States as they developed more pricing power. Jan Keoppen mentioned that it is difficult to predict if this will be a long-term trend, but he is confident that Disney will remain “attractively priced.”
“We are waiting to see how people react, how much people like it, we are measuring many different metrics,” he said.