Disney streaming service banks on AsPac for growth

Rica Delfinado - The Philippine Star

Singapore – As demand for streaming services plateaued in North America, The Walt Disney Co., parent of Disney+, is setting its sights on Asia Pacific to spur growth and gain more subscribers on its streaming service.

Determined to create more contents that resonate with local audience, the company invested significantly in the creation of original local and regional content for its streaming service, with over 50 new titles greenlighted for production in Asia Pacific alone.

According to the company, Asia Pacific, home to three of the top 10 global film markets,  offers immense retail consumer opportunity for Disney+.

“We are focusing our content development on what we refer to as our content whitespace,” said Luke  Kang, president, The Walt Disney Co. Asia Pacific, during the APAC 2022 Content Showcase held from Nov. 29 to Dec.1 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.

“Investing in areas that require more local specificity – either due to high popularity in select markets, like Japanese anime, K-dramas or Indonesia rom-coms and horror, or the need for local storytelling with talent that are familiar to our local audiences. We want to serve our viewers in every market with globally branded content like Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar, as well as locally produced stories that resonate with them – while also taking the best of those stories global,” he said.

In October 2021, Disney made its first foray into local content production with an ambitious, long-term plan to showcase the best content and stories from Asia Pacific to the world stage.

“At our first Asia Pacific Content Showcase last year, we made our first step into local content production with an ambitious, long-term plan to uncover the world’s best stories from this region, and to showcase creative excellence that can shine on the world stage,” Kang said.

“This year, it was important for us to showcase the breadth of our global branded content from our award-winning studios and iconic franchises, as well as our Asia Pacific content slate for 2023,”  he said.

Featuring announcements for over 50 titles, including an upcoming slate of movies and series from Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Lucasfilm and an expanding collection of originals from Asia and Australia for Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar, the APAC Content Showcase unveiled a slew of original Korean series and K-pop features with exciting updates for over a dozen shows set to launch on Disney’s streaming service in 2023 and beyond.

The slate  featured star-studded scripted live action tent-pole series including drama, comedy, fantasy, romance, science-fiction, crime, horror; to variety shows, documentaries and anime from several markets including Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia.

“Our aspiration is for stories from Asia-Pacific  to be a key pillar for the next 100 years,” said Carol Choi, executive vice president of Original Content Strategy, The Walt Disney Co. APAC.

“Our curated content from Asia-Pacific is a key part of the unparalleled storytelling and creative excellence The Walt Disney Co. is known for, and we look forward to further showcasing storytelling excellence from the region on the world stage,” she said.

The rapid growth of Disney+ in just three years since its launch in late 2019 is a direct result of the company’s strategic decision to invest heavily in creating impressive, original contents and rolling out the  streaming service globally.

The company said it plans to more than double the number of countries Disney+ is in to over 160 by fiscal 2023.

Based on The Walt Disney Co.’s  fiscal 2022 performance report, the company’s direct-to-consumer services added nearly 57 million subscriptions for  a total of more than 235 million. Its fourth quarter performance for fiscal year 2022 saw strong subscription growth with the addition of 14.6 million total subscriptions, including 12.1 million Disney+ subscribers.

In  Asia Pacific, Disney+ or Disney+ Hotstar is available in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

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