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Disney+ to rival streaming giants as it is set to launch in SA for the very first time

Disney+ logo. Supplied image.

Disney+ logo. Supplied image.

Published May 7, 2022


Johannesburg - In just under two weeks time, South Africans will have access to thousands of movies, series, documentaries and other content from some of the world’s biggest brands.

This will all be made possible when Disney+ launches in the country on May 18, giving their subscribers the options to enjoy the greatest stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star, all in one single platform.

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“This service has something for everyone,” Christine Service, the senior vice-president and general manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa insisted.

Speaking during the South Africa media showcase for Disney+ this week, Service believes the American multinational entertainment and media conglomerate’s content will be a hit in the country.

“We know that South Africans have a great appetite and love for our content.”

She said that Disney releases account for 11 of the top 20 movies released at the South African box office and that according to their survey results, local consumers engage with their brands through various touch points.

This includes at the cinema, on their channels, online, through live events and through their products and merchandise.

As South African audiences are set to enjoy content that is available to other nations, Service believes that Disney+’s appeal is based on several factors.

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“The service is anchored on great quality content, it is easy to navigate the user interface which also allows for personalisation and it also has robust parental controls.”

But the streaming platform’s greatest offering is its over 1 000 movies, 1 500 individual series as well as their 200 exclusive originals.

For the very first time, Disney+ will also give South African Star Wars fans the opportunity to watch all Star Wars content on a single platform.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster Photo: Facebook

“On May 27 we will also launch Star WarsObi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+,” said Service.

In terms of series, the platform will also for the very first time in South Africa have over 300 episodes of The Simpsons to watch on demand.

Disney+ will also be the exclusive home of all Marvel titles as more are already in production while others are brand new or set to debut soon.

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This includes Academy Award-nominated Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings, Eternals, Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel.

National Geographic documentaries including The Rescue and Free Solo, from Academy Award-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, will sit alongside popular National Geographic series such as The World According To Jeff Goldblum and Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted.

Other shows that are popular on the streaming platform include The Kardashians as well as the highly-acclaimed Queens, which stars Eve and Brandy.

The Kardashians. File image.

But Service added that Disney+ is also for those looking for nostalgia as back seasons of current series such as Grey's Anatomy, This is Us as well as older shows like Prison Break, The Fixer and Modern Family will all be available on the platform.

Others include Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, The X-Files and Phineas and Ferb.

Disney+ will also feature a wide reaching movie line-up of classics, Oscars winners as well as new releases.

“Disney+ has something for everyone and every mood, it really is a treasure trove of viewing,” said Service.

She added that there is also local content from different regions including Africa, Europe and Latin America.

On the continent, Disney+ has produced Iwaju, a collaboration with Disney and Pan-African comic book entertainment company Kugali.

“The long form series which is steeped in science fiction, is set in Lagos, Nigeria and it explores deep themes of class, innocence and challenging the status quo.”

There are also plans for proudly-South African content to be made available on Disney+ in the near future.

“It is important for us that our content represents our audience and they can see themselves in our content,” Service said.

She added that shows will be released at the same time as the rest of the world with minor variations in some cases.

While Disney+ is determined to provide content to suit all tastes and ages, they are cognisant of underage viewing on content not suitable for youngsters.

For this reason, they have easy-to-use parental controls as well as the option to password protect an adult’s profile and to create personalised profiles for children.

The service also enables seven profiles per account, with four able to watch at the same time.

While the Disney+ service is set to launch later this month, Service explained that this will not affect their content on DStv channels such as the Disney Channel, Disney Junior and National Geographic.

She also added that they have a partnership with MultiChoice and that they remain committed to their linear channels as well as their Disney+ content.

Service also believes that Disney+ is an affordable means to stream.

Disney+ logo. File image.

“Fans can currently register their interest to take advantage of an exclusive introductory offer to subscribe to Disney+ in South Africa for the price of R950.”

She explained that this pre-launch offer for the annual subscription is only available until mid-night May 17 and is equivalent to 12 months for the price of eight. Standard pricing at launch is confirmed at R119 per month, or R1 190 for an annual subscription.