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Disney (DIS) Set to Launch Disney+ in France With Canal+

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Disney (DIS - Free Report) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement for its streaming platform Disney+ with France’s leading pay-TV provider Canal+ Group, per a Reuters report.

Canal+ will be the sole distributor of Disney+ in France following its launch in March 2020. Canal has completed its agreement with two other exclusive rights to strengthen this partnership.

As part of the deal, Canal+ will continue to broadcast Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucas Film and 20th Century Fox films, including the next Star Wars or Avatar. Moreover, the company now has exclusive distribution of the Disney channels in France including Disney Channel, Disney Junior and will also continue to offer the National Geographic, Voyage and Fox Play channels.

International Expansion: Key Growth Driver For Disney+

Disney’s goal for Disney+ is to gain between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by 2024. Expansion into international markets is a strategic move to achieve this goal.

The deal with Canal+ appears to be quite exclusive, as it is the only major distribution deal Disney+ has signed with another company besides its U.S. deal with Verizon VZ.

The telecom giant will soon be offering all its new and existing wireless customers on unlimited-data plans a free year of Disney+ viewership.

Last month, Disney officially announced that Disney+ will be available in some countries in Western Europe from Mar 31 2020, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain and France.

The French arrangement will expand the current international reach for Disney+. Currently, this relatively new streaming platform is available in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The application is available on terminals including Roku, Amazon Fire, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Android phones and tablets, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and LG Smart TV, Samsung and Sony and all Internet browsers in the United States. It is therefore expected be almost the same in France at the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Moreover, Disney has signed licensing deals in other key European markets, such as with Sky in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

Competition From Other Streaming Providers in France

Partnering with Canal+ Group marks an important step for Disney+ amid rising competition from streaming providers in France.

However, Disney+ will not be distributed by France’s main service providers namely Orange, Free and SFR.

Netflix NFLX already has distribution deals with many services including Orange, SFR, Bouygues and Free. Notably, the streaming giant had more than 5 million subscribers in France in Feb 2019, per a Reuters report.

Moreover, the pact with Disney+ follows Canal+ Group’s recent deal with Netflix, per which the streaming giant’s content has been available to Canal+ subscribers since Oct 15 this year.
Further, Amazon’s AMZN Amazon Prime Video recently sealed deals with SFR and Free to expand its international subscriber base in France.

Disney plans to counter rising competition on the back of robust content portfolio and binge viewing.  

Series exclusive to the service include The Mandalorian, which is the first live-action Star Wars series, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The World According to Jeff Goldblum from National Geographic; Marvel’s Hero Project, short-form series Pixar IRL and Disney Family Sundays and Encore! executive-produced by Kristen Bell.

Additionally, Disney+ features three of the four highest grossing films of all times, including Avengers: Endgame, Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Zacks Rank

Currently, Disney carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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