Disney+ will launch in most Western European countries on March 24 — a week earlier than originally planned, Disney announced this morning.
The March launch includes the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.
Additional countries in the region, including Belgium, the Nordics, and Portugal, will follow this summer.
Pricing has been confirmed at £5.99 or €6.99 per month, or £59.99 or €69.99 for an annual subscription.
Disney didn’t offer a reason for moving the launch in the eight major Western European markets up from March 31.
The company may have decided to avoid a launch during the second quarter -- which is generally the toughest one in which to garner new subscriptions -- or it may have signed new pay-TV distribution deals influencing the timing, Enders Analysis analyst Tom Harrington speculated to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney might also reason that it “might as well just get 'The Mandalorian' out there before even more people pirate it,” he added.
Disney+ launched in the Netherlands (a beta testing ground) and Canada, along with the mainland U.S., on Nov. 12 last year.
Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico followed on Nov. 19. The Puerto Rico launch, originally set for Nov. 12, was delayed by a week.
Following some first-day sign-up, access and streaming glitches, Disney reported having reached more than 10 million subscribers for the service by the end of Nov. 12. The company is now projecting 60 million to 90 million global subscribers by 2024.
Media analyst Bernie McTernan of Rosenblatt Securities recently estimated that Disney+ may already have about 25 million subscribers, and could reach nearly 40 million by the end of this year.
However, it’s still unclear how many of the initial flood of sign-ups for the service are coming from the first-year-free offer for consumers who sign up for Verizon’s unlimited data plans.