The much-anticipated launch of the Disney+ streaming platform is being held back in the French market until April 7, the company announced Saturday.
In a statement Disney said the delay had come at the request of the French government, which like many European administrations is battling to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.
In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, where Disney+ will launch on Tuesday, the broadcaster will scale back its overall use of bandwidth by a quarter.
Disney’s decision follows moves by Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, who have taken similar action in Europe following consultation with the European Commission. There are fears of network congestion with both parents and children working from home, though telcos insist their systems are robust enough to cope.
“In line with Disney’s longstanding commitment to act responsibly, we are responding to the request of European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton to work together to ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure,” Walt Disney Co. chairman of direct-to-consumer & international Kevin Mayer said.
“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,” he added. “We look forward to the launch of Disney+ and hope it will provide a much-needed respite for families in these challenging and trying times.”