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Disney hopes to offer ‘much-needed moments of respite’ with streaming launch

Disney+ has launched in seven European countries.

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Disney+ has launched in the UK (Disney/PA)

Disney+ has launched in the UK (Disney/PA)

Disney+ has launched in the UK (Disney/PA)

Disney has said it hopes to provide “some much-needed moments of respite” for families during the coronavirus crisis as it launched its long-anticipated streaming service in the UK and Ireland.

Disney+, which has also launched in Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland,  after a roll-out in the US in November, will debut with at least 25% less bandwidth to ease pressure on internet service providers during the outbreak.

It will be home to more than 500 films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, 26 exclusive original movies and series, and thousands of television episodes, including the Star Wars spin-off The Mandarlorian and more than 300 episodes of The Simpsons.

The company warned it has had to close some of its Disney+ customer services centres due to the coronavirus outbreak and customers should expect longer than normal wait times for live chat and phone support this week, suggesting people visit the online Disney+ Help Centre at https://help.disneyplus.com/csp.

Kevin Mayer, chairman of Walt Disney direct-to-consumer & international, said: “Launching in seven markets simultaneously marks a new milestone for Disney+.

“As the streaming home for Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic, Disney+ delivers high-quality, optimistic storytelling that fans expect from our brands, now available broadly, conveniently, and permanently on Disney+.

“We humbly hope that this service can bring some much-needed moments of respite for families during these difficult times.”

Discussing launching the service in the middle of the pandemic, Ricky Strauss, president of Disney+ content and marketing, told the PA new agency: “We are, all of us in the world that we live in, facing really challenging times.

“Our focus at the moment is the same focus we had when we launched from the beginning here in the US and some other markets in November, which is to provide quality content and storytelling, and have the benefit of the backlog of our catalogue to entertain people and to provide hours of incredible content from the Walt Disney Company, and that continues to be our focus and our mandate.”

PA