Disney+ Sets Japan Launch Date

Mandalorian - The Child Yoda- Disney+ - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Disney+

Japan is the world's third-largest entertainment market and home to Disney's most profitable theme park, making the June debut a major step for the streaming service.

Disney+ is set for a June 11 debut in Japan, The Walt Disney Co. said Thursday. The streaming service will launch in Japan via an exclusive partnership with local telecom giant NTT Docomo.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed in early May that Disney+ was targeting a June rollout in Japan, but Thursday's announcement revealed the precise date and other details for the first time.

Disney+ will be offered in Japan for about $6.50 (JPY700) per month. Consumers can subscribe via Docomo's extensive retail and digital networks in the country. Docomo users also can sign up on disneyplus.jp using their "d account."

After launching in the U.S., most of Europe, India and Australia, Disney+ had approximately 54.5 million paid subscribers as of early May. The addition of the Japan market is the next major step for Disney's flagship streaming product.

Japan is the world's third-largest entertainment market, behind only North America and China (the latter of which blocks all foreign streaming services). The Disney brand has been big in Japan for decades. Tokyo Disney Resort was the company’s first theme park outside the U.S. and consistently ranks as its most profitable worldwide. Disney animations and blockbusters routinely top the country's annual box office (Aladdin was the biggest film of 2019 in Japan, with $112 million).

“We are excited and honored to be able to launch Disney+ in Japan, where we have a deep and long-standing relationship with consumers who have helped build our substantial legacy with their love and loyalty," said Luke Kang, managing director of The Walt Disney Company in North Asia. "The Walt Disney Company’s beloved stories of hope, courage and optimism have always resonated strongly with our fans in Japan, and Disney+ will only strengthen and magnify this engagement and resonance."

How Disney would broach the Japan market with Disney+ had been somewhat unclear over the preceding months, given that the company had already released a market-specific streaming product there in 2019. An online and mobile entertainment service named Disney Deluxe was jointly launched by Disney and NTT Docomo last March. Disney said Thursday that it will switch over all subscribers of Disney Deluxe to Disney+ on June 11, with no additional charge. Disney has never revealed how many subscribers Disney Deluxe has.

At launch in Japan, Disney+ will offer over 500 feature films and 100 series, including Disney+ originals like The Mandalorian, and marquee titles from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.