[Requested by MJH]
A BIT MORE than three months from now (October 1, 2021), a part of our childhood will be fading away and marching into memory.
On this day, Disney Channel Asia and other Walt Disney Company’s cable channels — including Channel V, Fox Networks Asia and National Geographic — in Southeast Asia will cease operations.
This business decision was announced to focus on the burgeoning rise of the Disney+ platform (wherein I made it as an exemplifying case of opening the economy to foreign investments as one of the radical and persistent lessons from 2020).
This prevailing change of business model is known to most of us as “cord-cutting” — a trend that is rolled over from the late 2010s. I wrote it back in 2018 for our domestic counterparts and recently, at least one prominent anime blogger made a lamentation post on one of its channels and made a “what could have happened” scenario.
What is Disney+?
Launched in November 2019, Disney+ is an over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platform that was owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company. The service primarily distributes films and television series produced by Disney, with dedicated content hubs for Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star (for us) All the content aired from the soon-to-be-obsolete platform will be migrated there.
The present COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the doors of cinemas and people to stay home, pushed the live-action remake of Mulan and other Disney films that follow — intended for theatrical releases — exclusively on this specific platform. With that, from 10 million users that signed up during their first day, it accelerated to more than tenfold to 103.6 million (as of April 3, 2021).
This year, Disney+ is penetrating the Southeast Asian markets with Singapore getting its taste of the experience through the partnership with StarHub last February, followed by its neighbor Malaysia last June 1 (thru Astro and Hotstar). Tomorrow, it will be Thailand’s turn (thru Hotstar and AIS) to stream.
Before the cable closure, we hoped that Disney+ Hotstar will roll in our shores to avoid a gap. Streaming migrants, especially Disney fans and followers by heart, are looking forward to this.
The Disney+ effect is applied for entertainment channels — not cable news just yet and don’t expect CNN to pull the plug on their cable just because CNN+ is still in the works.
Could the Effect Be Replicated Domestically?
As of this publication so far, I have not seen any of our big-time entertainment companies (that are NOT actively involved with free-to-air broadcasting operations) — other than the very obvious — following the Disney approach.
Doing so now can impact the revenue generation of the whole company. We’ve already seen what happened over one entity in South Triangle last year. It’s bloody, unstable, and unrecognizable despite their OTT service being released a decade before their core component business was lost. It’s better to wait for a year or two for that new venture and determine if it will outgrow over the accustomed and prominent segments before throwing out the irredeemable.
But if we could get the next entity after that, I believe it would be Viva Entertainment since they have their video-on-demand platform, Vivamax. In return, they gave up K Movies Pinoy this year and I wouldn’t be shocked if Pinoy Box Office (PBO) and their cable channel, Viva TV, would most likely get their cords cut. The current partnerships with Celestial Movies and MVP’s media group will remain until the boss (Vic del Rosario) changes his mind and see their prospective outlooks as no longer feasible.
If not Viva Entertainment, which entertainment company would manifest the Disney+ Effect? Tell us in the comments below.