March 22, 2020 / 12:43 AM / 3 months ago

Disney+ launch delayed in France, bandwidth use cut for Europe amid coronavirus - Variety

March 21 (Reuters) - The launch of Walt Disney's streaming services in France will be delayed by two weeks at the request of the French government, Variety bit.ly/2J7Gpeo reported on Saturday.

The report cited a statement from Kevin Mayer, head of Disney's Direct-to-consumer and International business. Disney officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Disney+ is set to launch in the UK and most major European markets on March 24, but European subscribers will receive temporarily degraded video quality, the report said.

Anticipating higher consumer demand, the company is instituting measures to "lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th," the report said, citing Mayer's statement.

It also said Disney had agreed to a European Union request for streaming-video providers to limit their video bit-rates during the coronavirus emergency so as not to overload internet networks.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc, Amazon Inc's Prime video and Netflix had previously said they will sacrifice streaming quality in the European Union to help avert online gridlock as tens of millions of people stay indoors and switch to working from home.

The request to the companies was made by European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton to ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure. (Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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