Disney Plus has finally launched France on Tuesday after being delayed by two weeks at the behest of the French government, which feared the service would overload the country’s internet networks during the coronavirus lockdown.
The streaming service launched in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland on March 24. The Walt Disney Company said that Disney Plus will now feature a lower overall bandwidth utilization
(by at least 25%) and reduced video quality for the time being.
The European Union has requested that streamers limit their video bit-rates during the pandemic. Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Apple have also reduced their bandwidth consumption in Europe.
“France and The Walt Disney Company have enjoyed a special and successful relationship for decades,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.
“While we were happy to honor the request of the local government to delay our initial launch plans, we are delighted to now be able to bring Disney Plus to French fans and families,” said Mayer, adding that “Disney Plus will offer some much needed joy during these unprecedented and challenging times.”
Disney Plus subscribers in France will have access to over 500 films, 26 exclusive original movies and series, including “The Mandalorian,” the first live-action ‘Star Wars’ series; “Lady and the Tramp,” a live-action re-telling of the 1955 animated classic; “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series;” “Marvel’s Hero Project;” and “Forky Asks A Question” from Pixar Animation Studios. The service will also feature TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, among others.
As part of Disney’s exclusive distribution deal with the pay TV group Canal Plus, Disney Plus is available on set-top boxes in France, as well as on other platforms. In France, the service is priced at €6.99 ($7.60) per month, or €69.99 ($76.34) per year.
Disney Plus will pursue its European roll-out this summer in Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal.