In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney+ will be slowing down its streaming speed once it launches in Europe this month, Forbes reports. The move is reportedly to help internet services deal with the massive increase in demand they have seen in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Kevin Mayer, Walt Disney Company's Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer And International, said that Disney+ is "proactively instituting measures to lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th." He continued, "In the coming days, we will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand."
Disney+ was set to launch in Europe on March 24 but pushed back its launch date in France to April 7 in response to a request from the French government.
Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime and Apple TV Plus have all taken similar measures in Europe. Last week, Netflix announced that it would limit its bandwith usage by 25 percent and YouTube, Amazon and Apple all made similar statements, though they did not disclose the number they would be adjusting to. Netflix made its decision after CEO Max Hastings received a request from EU Commissioner Thierry Breton to stop streaming high definition, a request Hastings declined, though he did compromise by reducing Netflix's bandwith usage.
With millions of adults and children now at home due to the pandemic, demand for internet content has risen hugely, though it's not clear whether the increased demand is actually a strain on providers. Forbes report that the main U.K. internet providers have seen an increase in demand between 20 and 50 percent over the past few days, they are not concerned about being able to meet that demand.
There are currently over 350,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and over 15,000 deaths. As the pandemic has progressed, countries have taken varying measures in an attempt to encourage social distancing — the U.K. recently ordered the closure of pubs, restaurants and other venues and Italy, currently the epicenter of the virus, has been on lockdown since early this month.
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