Disney is ready to jump into the streaming service game later this year in the United States. However, in Japan, the company is ready to open the floodgates this month.
According to a report on Friday from The Hollywood Reporter, Disney is teaming up with Japan’s leading mobile wireless carrier, Docomo, to launch a streaming service. This new platform will be an exclusive partnership with the carrier. It will also offer content from all four of Disney’s major studios. That means Docomo customers will get movies from Pixar, Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm (Star Wars).
That means Disney is going right after Netflix in Japan, too:
“Docomo has around 45 percent market share in Japan with more than 70 million subscribers. The next largest carrier, KDDi’s au service, linked with Netflix last year, offering a special data plan with unlimited access to the streaming platform. Third-largest carrier SoftBank has offered Netflix subscriptions to its 40 million subscribers since the streamer launched in Japan in 2015.”
The report indicates that the push from Disney is not only to get partnered up with the biggest wireless carrier in Japan, but also to welcome in 5G service. That should help boost streaming. It’s also worth noting that Docomo and Disney go back a ways, with the wireless carrier offering various devices with Disney themes over the last handful of years or so.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., Disney+ is a looming presence in the streaming market for many companies. That certainly includes Netflix, which has been bolstering its original content slate for years. Even as it faces the inevitable removal of Disney-owned content from the platform this year. And let’s not forget Apple, which is jumping on the bandwagon later this year. We should get a first-look at that service at an event on March 25.