Former Disney Streaming Executive Rebecca Campbell Departing After 26 Years

Rebecca Campbell, chairman of international content and operations at the Walt Disney Co., is leaving the media giant in June after 26 years.

Campbell, who most-recently served as chairman of direct-to-consumer and international operations, where she oversaw the launch of Disney+ throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, was also responsible for the roll-out of the Star general entertainment content collection on Disney+ and the standalone Star+ branded general entertainment streaming service in Latin America.

Rebecca Campbell

The executive’s pending exit comes after newly restored CEO Bob Iger announced a reorganization of Disney’s business into three operating units with streamlined leadership plans, in addition to $5.5 billion in companywide cost savings, including the elimination of 7,000 jobs.

Campbell said Iger asked her to stay on board until the beginning of the summer to ease the transition, which includes Michael Paull, president of DTC, now reporting to Dana Walden and Alan Bergman, co-chairs of Disney’s new entertainment business unit.

In a memo last week to staff, Campbell said she enjoyed her career at the company, and looked forward to traveling for fun and spending more time with her family.

“I will always be grateful to him for his exceptional leadership, invaluable wisdom, and cherished friendship,” she said. “And I truly believe that the organizational changes that he has announced are positioning the company for a very bright future.”

Disney+, Star+ Relaunch on Sony PlayStation 5 Video Game Consoles

Disney Oct. 4 announced that it has relaunched its branded Disney+ subscription streaming video platform, and general entertainment Star+ platform on the Sony PlayStation 5 video game consoles.

With the relaunch, PS5 users can now stream movies, TV shows and original content in 4K High-Dynamic Range video quality when viewed on 4K UHD television.

“A key part of our global expansion strategy is to meet consumers wherever they are, which is why we’re excited to enhance both Disney+ and Star+ for PlayStation 5 users,” Jerrell Jimerson, EVP of product and design for Disney Streaming, said in a statement. “The ability to support 4K HDR video streaming on the platform will also improve the viewing experience for fans.”

Both Disney+ and Star+ (which launched in Latin America last year offering general entertainment) require a paid subscription and high-speed Internet connection. They are available to download in the media section of the PS5 console.

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Disney to Launch ‘Predator,’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Movie Spin-Offs on Hulu, Star+ Platforms in 2022

It’s been 34 years since the movie Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a commando leader battling an extraterrestrial warrior, hit the big screen.

Now, five sequels later, Disney is set to launch a prequel titled Prey, which will debut in 2022 on Hulu and the media giant’s Star+ streaming service, which specializes in general entertainment content (i.e. more mature) not carried on Disney+.

Prey, as well as the “Predator” franchise, were absorbed by Disney through its 2019 asset acquisition of 20th Century Fox Studios. Prey will be released by the renamed 20th Century Studios unit.

Other movies streaming on Hulu and Star+ next year include Rosaline, a spin-off character from the Romeo and Juliet story starring Kaitlyn Dever;  fairy tale actioner The Princess, and suspense thriller No Exit.

The movies were disclosed as part of Disney’s Disney+ Day (Nov. 12) content announcements.

South America Projected to Reach 131 Million SVOD Subs by 2026

Driven by subscription streaming video pioneer Netflix, in addition to Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max, South America is projected to reach 131 SVOD subscribers by 2026, according to new data from Digital TV Research. That compares with 76 million subs by the end of this year.

Brazil will remain the market leader, with 49 million subs by 2026, followed by Mexico with 32 million.

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“Five U.S.-based platforms will account for 91% of the region’s paying SVOD subscriptions [over the next five years],” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement.

Netflix will continue to lead the market, but its market share will fall. Disney+ will have 33 million subs by 2026, with HBO Max boasting another 10 million. The region continues to attract U.S. players. Paramount+ launched in March, followed by Max in June and Disney’s Star+ in August. Discovery+ is also in the region.

Disney Launches Star+ Streaming Service in Latin America

Disney Aug. 31 announced it has launched its new general entertainment and sports streaming service Star+ in Latin America. The service includes local fiction and non-fiction content, in addition to live sports from ESPN, content from 20th Century Television and 20th Century Studios.

Star+ is available as standalone $10.49 monthly service ($105 annually), or as part of Combo+, a bundled offering with access to Disney+ for $13.99 monthly.

Subscribers can stream the platform on a wide selection of supported mobile and connected TV devices, up to four devices at the same time, up to 25 on-demand downloads across 10 devices, customized recommendations, the ability to set up seven different profiles, and parental controls.

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“Star+ confirms our commitment to generate relevant and varied offerings by providing our audiences with access to fully personalized content tailored to their tastes,” Diego Lerner, president of The Walt Disney Company Latin America, said in a statement.

Unique to Star+ is original content created in and for Latin America. The regionally produced originals begin streaming Aug. 31 and address themes related to Latin American popular culture in both fiction and non-fiction formats begin streaming Aug. 31.

Titles include “Santa Evita,” “No Fue Mi Culpa,” and a new season of “Impuros”; comedy, with series such as “El galán.” “La TV cambió,” “él no” and “Los protectores”; dramedy, with productions such as “Terapia alternativa” and “El encargado”; thrillers “Insania” and “Horario estelar”; biopics “Ringo and Pancho Villa.” “El centauro del norte”; and docu-style reality shows, with productions such as the new season of the renowned documentary series “Bios,” “Vidas que cambiaron la tuya.”

Star+ ushers Latin America streaming access to ESPN featuring a collection of live shows and events from European soccer leagues; UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Conference League, Spain’s LaLiga and Copa del Rey, England’s Premier League and FA Cup, Italy’s Serie A and Coppa, Portugal’s Liga Portugal Bwin, Germany’s Bundesliga and DFB Pokal cup, and The Netherlands’ Eredivisie.

The platform will also feature some of America’s top soccer competitions like CONMEBOL Libertadores, Copa do Nordeste, CONCACAF League, Copa de Oro CONCACAF, CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF Qualifiers Qatar 2022, Liga MX, Liga MX Femenil, BBVA Expansión MX league, Argentina’s LPF, and MLS.

The sports offering also includes the tennis Grand Slam (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open), as well as the ATP, WTA, and Abierto Mexicano tournaments; rugby with Los Pumas, URBA, Sanzaar, Seis Naciones, SLAR, and The Rugby Championship; NBA and NCAA basketball; motorsports with Formula 1 and MotoGP; boxing, UFC, and Bellator MMA; golf competitions like the PGA Tour, The Masters, The Open, PGA Championship, and Ryder Cup; cycling competition Tour de France; NFL football and NFL Red Zone; extreme sports with X Games; surfing from the WSL; LMB and MLB baseball; and hockey from the NHL.

In turn, Star+ will feature local versions of ESPN staples such as SportsCenter, as well as original productions created in Latin America, such as ESPN Knockout, and ESPN Equipo F, among others.

The platform also includes new Star+ exclusive international original productions, with star-studded casts and renowned figures behind the scenes. Some of the much-anticipated titles include comedy thriller “Only Murders in the Building,” starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gómez; “Love, Victor,” “Big Sky” and “A Teacher.” Original series that are global hits are also available, such as all seasons of “This Is Us” and “The Walking Dead,” including the double-episode finale that premieres today. Biographical drama “Pam & Tommy,” starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan, and “Y: The Last Man,” the new FX drama series based on the graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra will also be included in the platform at a later time.

Finally, Star+ includes all 20th Century Television productions, such as award-winning series “The Simpsons,” with all seasons available in one single platform for the first time. Fans can also watch titles such as “Family Guy,” “Futurama,” “Bob’s Burgers,” and Solar Opposites premiering in late September.

Starz, Disney Reach Agreement for Star+ Brazil Launch

Lionsgate-owned Starz and Disney have reportedly reached an agreement that now allows Disney to begin rolling out its Star+ streaming platform in Brazil on Aug. 31.

A Brazilian judge had imposed a preliminary injunction against Disney blocking the Star+ launch on the grounds that consumers might be confused by the similar brand names. A spokesperson for Lionsgate/Starz said the dispute had been resolved “with the parties entering into an agreement with significant benefits for both companies.”

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Disney acquired the Indian-based Hotstar brand with its $71 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox — a deal that has generated about one-third of Disney+ subscribers worldwide. Disney has sought to incorporate content from 20th Century Fox, Searchlight Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, and Hollywood Pictures under the Star+ streaming brand. A strategy replicated with Disney-majority owned Hulu streaming ABC, Freeform, FX and FXX content.

The Brazil decision does not enable Disney to rollout Star+ in Argentina or Mexico as both countries feature similarly filed Starz litigation.

‘The Walking Dead’ Catalog Coming to Star on Disney+

Disney has revealed that all 10 seasons of the popular zombie series “The Walking Dead” will begin streaming July 2 via Star+ on the Disney+ platform in the U.K. The 11th and final season of “Walking Dead,” which is based on comic books by Robert Kirkman and filmed outside Atlanta, is slated to launch in the U.K. Aug. 23.

In the U.S., “Walking Dead” airs on AMC Networks, while Netflix exclusively streams the series. Spin-off shows include “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” and the upcoming anthology “Tales of the Walking Dead.” There is also a slate of “Walking Dead” feature films in the works.

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Star+ was launched by Disney on Feb. 23 in Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore with the aim of offering mature, adult-oriented content from ABC Signature, 20th Television, FX, Freeform, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Caravan Pictures to Disney+ subscribers. Additional territory launches are coming, including a separate standalone service in Latin America.

In the U.S., Disney distributes mature content, i.e. FX and FXX content, through its Hulu streaming platform — preferring to limit Disney+ content to family fare and branded PG movies.


Disney’s Star+ to Bow Aug. 31 in Latin America

Star+ will launch in Latin America on Aug. 31 as a standalone streaming service that will offer a full slate of ESPN content, including live events from the top leagues and sports shows; series, animated comedies, movies and documentaries; and regional and international original Star productions, including exclusive content, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution announced May 14.

“Star+ will offer a never-before-seen customized experience and will expand our connection with the different audiences,” Diego Lerner, president of The Walt Disney Company Latin America, said in a statement. The strength of the content, that will include all of ESPN, makes Star+ a unique and relevant offering with its own identity that will become a recognized digital service, independent from Disney+. Having said that, its arrival will represent a service that is complementary to Disney+ and it will consolidate The Walt Disney Company’s presence in Latin America’s streaming market. With Star+, we will also reinforce our constant commitment of over 20 years to develop, produce, and offer local content that represents the taste of consumers of the whole region, producing original content with well-known local production companies and talents, to tell stories that connect with Latin American audiences. We will do so through different genres, addressing original fiction stories, and social and historic themes that are relevant and of general interest.”

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The service will be available on Internet-connected devices and users can subscribe separately or as part of a bundled offer with Disney+.

The service includes exclusive premieres of general entertainment TV series and movies from The Walt Disney Company’s content studios, including Disney Television Studios, FX, 20th Century Studios, STAR Original Productions, National Geographic Original Productions and more, and the streaming service for live sports from ESPN. From dramas to comedies (including all seasons of “The Simpsons”) and thrillers for adults, Star+ also features exclusive original programming from the Star general entertainment brand, along with a collection of regional original productions from Latin America.

Disney Launches Star Streaming Brand Outside U.S.

As expected, subscription streaming platform Disney+ Feb. 23 launched the general entertainment Star brand in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe. In Singapore, “Disney+ with Star” became the first market to launch the new general entertainment streaming brand.

As part of the launch, Disney added new parental controls, including the ability to set limits on access to content for specific profiles based on content ratings and the ability to add a PIN to lock profiles with access to mature content.

“Disney+ with Star” will roll out later this year in Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, and in Latin America, the offering will launch as a separate streaming service, Star+.

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Star has its own dedicated page featuring a collection of general entertainment movies, TV shows, documentaries, and specials, along with Star-branded exclusive originals and local productions being created for the service.

Rebecca Campbell, chairman, International Operations and Direct-to-Consumer, The Walt Disney Company, said the addition of Star enhances the Disney+ brand value for consumers with the addition of movies and TV series for families, older teens, and adults, fueled by the acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

“Disney+ has touched the lives of nearly a hundred million people around the globe by providing a home for exceptional storytelling … and today’s launch of the Star-branded international general entertainment offering marks an exciting expansion for the service,” Campbell said in a statement.

The Star brand serves as home to movies and shows from Disney General Entertainment Content, including Disney Television Studios (ABC Signature and 20th Television), FX Productions, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight Pictures, among others. Star content offerings include TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “24,” “The X-Files,” “Lost,” “Family Guy,” FX’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner “Atlanta” by Donald Glover; ABC’s Emmy Award and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series “black-ish,” starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross; Shonda Rhimes’s legal drama “Scandal” and feminist comedy “Dollface,” created by Jordan Weiss. Movies include The Favourite and The Grand Budapest Hotel, along with classics Pretty WomanDie Hard 2The Devil Wears Prada and Moulin Rouge, among others.

Star also delivers originals from Disney Television Studios in International markets, with more than 35 first-run series set to premiere by the end of the first year. Titles now streaming in select markets include crime thriller “Big Sky” from David E. Kelley (“Big Little Lies,” “The Undoing”); “Love, Simon” spin-off series “Love, Victor” written by the film’s original writers Isaac Aptaker (“This Is Us”) and Elizabeth Berger (“This Is Us”) and adult animated sitcom “Solar Opposites,” co-created by Justin Roiland (“Rick & Morty”) and Mike McMahan (ex-writer’s assistant on “Rick & Morty”). Drama series “Helstrom,” executive produced by Paul Zbyszewski along with Karim Zreik and Jeph Loeb, also will be available at launch. Title accessibility will vary by region.

Star will also bring an array of locally produced originals in regions where available, with a slate already announced in Europe.

Disney Stock Hits Record High After Investor Day News Avalanche; 30% of Disney+ Subs Come From India

The morning after Walt Disney Co.’s epic Investor Day event, which saw every entertainment component of the media giant throw its support behind streaming video, i.e. Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star, Wall Street responded, sending shares to a record high.

Disney’s stock was up about 14% in Dec. 11 midmorning trading at $176 per share as of 9 a.m. PST. The company now has a market cap of almost $314 billion.

Amid the avalanche of content news on the Dec. 10 event, Disney said it would raise Disney+ subscription pricing by $1 next March, in addition to increasing European pricing by €2 to €8. The company touted more than 137 million paid subscribers through Dec. 2 via Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

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Notably, of the 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers, 30% (26.8 million) originate in India, where Disney owns and operates Disney Hotstar and pending Star and Star+ general entertainment streaming services. Disney+ Hotstar launched April 3 in India featuring live cricket matches — a national sport — in addition to more than 17,000 hours of content in seven languages.

“We are uniquely positioned for India because of the rapidly growing middle class and their purchasing power,” Rebecca Campbell, chairman of international operations and direct-to-consumer, said on the Investor Day webcast.