Disney+ to launch in UK, Western Europe earlier than planned

(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday it had moved up the launch of its video streaming service, Disney+, by a week to March 24 in the United Kingdom and in regions across Western Europe.

Disney+ would be available in UK for 5.99 pounds ($7.81) per month or 59.99 pounds every year, and in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland and Austria for 6.99 euros ($7.76) per month or 69.99 euros annually.

The streaming service is among the top players in the crowded streaming landscape, competing with Netflix Inc, Apple Inc’s Apple TV+, and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video in the region.

Disney+ features roughly 500 movies and 7,500 TV episodes from the company’s family entertainment catalog as well as new programming.

Disney+, which reached 10 million sign-ups on its first day, was downloaded nearly 41 million times on mobile devices since its launch in November, according to a report by research firm Sensor Tower last week.

Netflix, which is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings after markets close on Tuesday, had more than 60 million paid subscribers in the United States and over 158 paid subscribers at the end of September 2019.

Combined with Disney’s other streaming businesses – Hulu, which has 26.8 million subscribers, and ESPN+, which serves 3.5 million subscribers – the company now serves 40.3 million viewers in the United States.

Disney+ is set to launch in Belgium, Portugal and the Nordic regions later in summer this year, the company said.

Separately, Disney said on Friday its Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger’s total compensation in 2019 was $47.52 million, down from $65.65 million in 2018. (https://bit.ly/2tCW9BS)

Changes in Iger’s compensation made during and after 2019 were in response to feedback from investors, the entertainment company said.

(Reporting by Ambhini Aishwarya in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shinjini Ganguli)