Disney+ India Launch Postponed; eMarketer Lowers Global Ad Spend Forecast

In today’s edition of the ExchangeWire Daily Digest: Disney+ India launch postponed; eMarketer lowers global ad spend forecast; and Netflix to reduce European video quality. 

Disney+ India launch postponed 

Disney said on Friday that it is postponing the launch of its eponymous streaming service in India, one of the largest entertainment markets, after the biggest local attraction, Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, was rescheduled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The company, which is launching the streaming service in India through its local streamer Hotstar, did not immediately have a new launch date to share, but said the rollout was only being “briefly paused.”

“We recently announced that Disney+ would launch in India through the Hotstar  service in conjunction with the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season,” said Uday Shankar, President of The Walt Disney Company  APAC and Chairman of Star & Disney India, in a statement.

“Given the delay of the season, we have made the decision to briefly pause the roll-out of Disney+ and will announce a new revised premiere date for the service soon,” he added.

Disney said last month that it will launch Disney+ in India on March 29. But the company started to test the service with a small group of subscribers earlier this month. The company also cancelled a press briefing on Disney+’s India plans citing concerns over the disease.

eMarketer lowers global ad spend forecast

eMarketer lowered its 2020 global ad spend forecast on Thursday, revising estimates down from USD$712bn to USD$691.7bn due to the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on media and commerce.

That USD$20bn global decline is actually an optimistic forecast, and the ad industry should expect more losses and another downward revision when eMarketer releases its next ad spend update at the end of Q3 this year.

This report also factors in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which is scheduled to start in July, though the sports marketing and sponsorship industry has mentally prepared for that tentpole event to be cancelled. If the Olympics is actually cancelled, billions in ad spend across TV and digital media would evaporate

Most of the ad spend losses in this global forecast come from China, since the virus has had more time to spread and for people to recover, so eMarketer has data to model the changes over the course of the year, Enberg said.

“In the United States, we’re not sure what the economic impacts will be,” she said.

Netflix to reduce European video quality

Netflix will reduce the video quality on its service in Europe for the next 30 days, to reduce the strain on internet service providers.

Demand for streaming has increased because large parts of Europe are self-isolating at home due to the coronavirus outbreak. The video-streaming provider said lowering the picture quality would reduce Netflix data consumption by 25%.

But it said viewers would still find the picture quality good. The change appears to include the UK but Netflix has not responded to the BBC's request for confirmation on this. The company will cut its streaming bitrates, which influence how clear and smooth videos look when streamed online.

Videos with a higher bitrate tend to look less "blocky" or pixelated, but use more data. The announcement came after a phone call with European officials. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, had earlier said people should "switch to standard definition when HD [high-definition] is not necessary". An hour of standard definition video uses about 1GB of data, while HD can use up to 3GB an hour.