Disney to launch its own streaming service in the UK

Disney has announced that it will launch its own digital subscription service in the UK, opening up its huge library of films, TV shows, books and music.

DisneyLife will launch in November and will be available at home and on the go via an iOS and Android app. The platform will include the entire Disney Pixar catalogue as well as classics such as Snow White, Lady and the Tramp and The Jungle Book. It also promises singalong songs from Disney’s films and bedtime stories.

One feature which is likely to appeal to parents and set it apart from similar streaming models such as Netflix and Amazon Prime is the ability to temporarily download content to devices, making it easier to use when traveling. In contrast to this it will not offer Marvel or the Lucasfilm Star Wars titles.

DisneyLife will have a monthly subscription service of £9.99 and will be available in five languages - English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Its launch comes just in time for Christmas and it is expected to extend to other European markets in the near future.

The Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive, Robert Iger, described DisneyLife as “a great example of our strategy to utilize technology to connect with consumers in more direct and compelling ways”.

The launch comes as Apple, Netflix and other providers lead a charge into app-based TV viewing which has left the future of traditional TV in jeopardy. Iger, who sits on the board of Apple, echoed these sentiments when he said that “there will be multichannel TV and we will be part of it but the app experience offers many more layers and much more richness in content than a channel, where one programme follows another programme”.

He added that “there’s so much more texture to using the app and it takes advantage of what technology is enabling these days — whereas a linear channel doesn’t”.

Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, said going through decades of Disney entertainment to curate the content was a “privilege”. He added that the service would “put those memorable scenes, songs and stories at your fingertips, and provide families with a new, convenient way to enjoy the magic of Disney at home or on the move.

The streaming service will have a number of customisable options including the ability to have up to six individual profiles per membership using Disney characters such as Woody, Snow White, Mickey. It will also feature built-in controls for parents allowing them to set time limits on how much can be watched.

No plans are in place to bring the service to the US due to the potential overlaps with the many agreements it has with cable and satellite companies that distribute its content.

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