Disney's new SVoD service Disney+ has beaten many analyst forecasts reaching 28.6m subscribers by the beginning of February 2020, above its own initial 20m-25m estimate.
Disney+ will also launch in India next month on Indian streamer Hotstar, which Disney owns. Hotstar will rebrand its Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription tiers to Disney Plus Hotstar. Capping a hectic week at the Disney castle, Amazon's free, ad-funded streaming platform IMDb TV has signed a deal with Disney for rights to a number of key shows, including Lost and Desperate Housewives.
US broadcasting group ViacomCBS will launch its ad-supported streaming platform Pluto TV in Latin America at the end of March. Initially, the service will contain 24 free, ad-funded channels with content in Spanish and Portuguese, though this is expected to grow to 80 channels by the end of the year.
In the Nordics, Swedish telco Tele2 (owner of local cable giant Comhem) has launched a new standalone streaming service, Comhem Play+, which will be offered free of charge for Tele2 customers for the first 12 months. Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay has teamed up with Sony Pictures Television to co-develop and co-produce up to six new scripted dramas. The deal also includes an extension to Viaplay's first-window rights for Sony films and series in the Nordic region. Viaplay parent NENT group has become the co-owner of Danish FIFA esports competition eSuperliga, scooping up rights to the tournament across the Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Meanwhile, Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona is launching its own streaming platform, Barça TV+, which will show all of the team’s owned video content. Sky New Zealand has completed its acquisition of local streaming platform Lightbox.
Finally, in a move seen widely as a politically-motivated assault on the BBC, the UK government has launched an inquiry to look at 'decriminalizing' non-payment of the television licence fee.