TV/STREAMING . . .
Disney+ to Launch a Week Early Across Western Europe. The Hollywood giant's streaming platform will bow in the U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and across German-speaking territories, to be followed by additional European markets in the summer. The Walt Disney Company's new streaming service Disney+ will launch in the biggest Western European countries on March 24, a week earlier than originally planned, with much of the rest of western Europe to follow in the summer. Disney on Tuesday updated its roll-out plans for the direct-to-consumer service, saying that Disney+ will now bow in the U.K. and Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and across German-speaking Europe on March 24 instead of March 31. Further Western European territories, including Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal, will follow this summer. Disney+ is currently only available in Europe in the Netherlands, a territory Disney used as a beta testing ground before starting Disney+ in the U.S. late last year. The company didn't provide a reason for why it moved the launch date up to March 24. Disney+'s European service will launch with its original Star Wars universe series The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, as well as original titles including Encore! and Diary of A Future President. The Western European service will cost subscribers 5.99 ($7.99) or 6.99 ($7.75) per month or 59.99 ($79.99) and 69.99 ($77.50) for a yearly subscription. Disney+ signed up more than 10 million subscribers in the U.S. within a week of its Nov. 12 launch. The service is projecting between 60 million and 90 million global streaming subscribers by 2024. "The second quarter is generally the hardest quarter to get subs it's when Netflix has its greatest churn, so they probably want to get as far as they can away from it as rights and tech development allows," Enders Analysis analyst Tom Harrington told THR. "Also, possibly they have signed some distribution deal/deals with pay TV and that date better ties up with some push that those companies want to do. Also, you might as well just get The Mandalorian out there before even more people pirate it." (Hollywood Reporter)