Disney+ launches in South Africa — all the details

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THE Walt Disney Company officially launched Disney+ in South Africa on Wednesday for R119 per month or a discounted annual fee of R1,190.

A pre-launch promotion allowed South African residents to register their interest ahead of the 18 May launch date to lock in a special price of R950 for the year.

This would give two additional months of free access on the regular annual plan, with subscribers paying for eight months and receiving 12.

Disney+ supports streaming in up to 4K quality, high dynamic range, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, four concurrent streams, and seven user profiles.

Disney also released the entire South African launch content list for its streaming service, which featured 2,277 titles — 1,332 movies and 945 series.

The launch content slate includes not only Disney’s animated films and series, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, but also its Star hub.

The Star hub includes movies and TV shows aimed at a more adult audience from Hulu, 20th Television, 20th Century Studio, Searchlight, and Touchstone Pictures.

Walt Disney Africa general manager Christine Service said that when you count every episode, Disney+ is launching with over 20,000 pieces of content in South Africa.

“We’re excited about the volume of content,” Service told MyBroadband.

Although she couldn’t confirm which titles would be added to the platform post-launch, Service said that there is a backlog of originals that they have been releasing on Disney+.

“We don’t want to steal the thunder of our future announcements,” said Service.

She explained that Disney is no longer licensing content the way it used to and has worked to clear all the rights to the content in its stable to bring it to Disney+.

Although there are still some geographic licensing constraints, Disney will continue to add more of its own content to Disney+ as the rights clear.

Asked whether Disney is considering licensing live sports for the South African market similar to Disney+ Hotstar in India, Service said they don’t have anything to announce in that regard.

Hotstar owns the rights to broadcast Indian Premier League cricket in India.

“We’re continuing to evaluate live sports streaming, but we’re [also] focused on launching this service as it is without the live components,” Service said.

She said that ultimately they would listen to what their subscribers say they want.

Asked about the technical aspects of the service, Service explained that the Hotstar team in India is providing technical support to Walt Disney Africa.

“It’s extremely exciting because they have vast knowledge launching services not just in India but across Asia,” Service stated.

In terms of supported devices, Disney announced the addition of Samsung TVs for the South African launch.

Disney+ will run on the following platforms in South Africa at launch:

• Mobile devices:<span;> iPhone & iPad (iOS10+), Android mobile (4.4.4+), Android tablets

• Browsers:<span;> Chrome (version 75+), Safari (version 11+), Microsoft Edge (version 79+), Firefox

• Living Room (CTV):<span;> Android TV (OS 7.0 or above), Chromecast [Gen2 above (Firmware 1.43+)], Apple tvOS 11+ (Gen 4 above), LG (WebOS 4.0+), Samsung Smart TV.

Service said they would add more platforms in time, including gaming consoles.

Asked how Disney+’s content will be stored and served in South Africa, the company told MyBroadband it is pushing to Akamai NetStorage and serving it from there.

On the topic of supporting subscribers with limited data caps, Service said that Disney+ has a data saver mode.

She also said they would offer the ability to download content for offline viewing from early June.

Subscribers will be able to download an unlimited number of movies and episodes.

“We recognise how important that is,” said Service.