Want a Hulu subscription but live outside the U.S.? Try Disney+
As Disney announces its jumbo line-up of content across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, you might be wondering how you’re going to be able to treat yourself to the shows from Hulu. After all Hulu Originals include the likes of No Man’s Land, Happiest Season, Run, among others. It’s content library also boasts of Shameless, The Undoing, The Bachelorette . . . something for everyone.
If you live outside the United States & were wondering how to watch these shows & movies, Disney now has an answer for you. Disney has announced that they will leverage Star as the international equivalent of Hulu, starting February 23rd next year. This arrangement will roll out in some European countries, Canada, and New Zealand.
Looks like Disney’s subscriber base is going to take a sharp hike from its current base of 137 million subscribers, of which 86 million are from Disney Plus alone.
What is Star by Disney?
Here’s some background: Star is currently a free tier included within the Disney Plus subscription in the aforementioned countries. Come February & it’ll be a fully integrated offering under Disney Plus. So all the shows coming from all of Disney’s secondary franchise brands like ABC, FX, Freeform, Searchlight, and 20th Century Studios will be made available.
Disney Plus – along with the Star tier – will then launch for the first time in Singapore in the same month, according to plans. This will be followed by launch in Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea later in 2021. In India too, Disney has been creating ripples.
Back in 2019, it acquired the Indian entertainment conglomerate Star India & then its subsequent streaming service Hotstar. A lot changed with that. The name of the brand, for starters, changed to Disney Plus Hotstar, Star was rebranded Disney’s Star India, and so on. At the same time, Disney has been keen to create a global brand & recognition for the Star label too.
In Latin America too, things will change in the streaming ecosystem. For subscribers there, the company is bringing Star Plus to stream both Disney’s own entertainment packs as well as content from ESPN Plus & ESPN. This move marks one of the biggest sports streaming push to come from the country. This launch will occur later than the launch of Star, however. Plans show June 2021 as a ballpark date.
Words from the CEO
Hints about ambitious plans for the Star brand first came in August, when Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the company’s intention to launch an international streaming service akin to Hulu. He’d explained then how they want the Star streaming service to carry localized content in accordance with the country of operation. Chapek had mentioned this as their long-term growth strategy.
He was quoted as follows, “In terms of the general entertainment offering internationally, we want to mirror our successful Disney Plus strategy by using our Disney Plus technical platform, bringing in content we already own and distributing it under a successful international brand that we also already own, which is, of course, Star.”
He had not given any specific timelines or details, but he had mentioned qualms about Hulu’s limited awareness within the U.S. Now that the plan is more concrete, it’s slated to kickstarted rolling this out starting February next year.
As mentioned before, the first countries to get this benefit are Canada, New Zealand, and Western Europe. When that rolls out, Disney Plus prices are reported to go up by around an additional $2.40 per month. The catalog or library of content will expand significantly too, from movies, series, to documentaries, and the hike in prices will hopefully be justified by the additional content.