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We may know when Disney+ will launch in South Africa

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I watched Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker yesterday. Don’t worry: I won’t spoil anything about the film here. What I do have to divulge though happened a few moments before the start of the film as a conversation among us press about The Mandalorian caught the ear of a Disney Africa representative who happened to be at the screening to monitor our actions (Disney takes the secrecy around Star Wars very serious!).

As I was answering somebody’s question about when we could potentially see The Mandalorian by explaining that Africa wasn’t even on Disney’s original two-year rollout plan for Disney+, the Disney rep seated next to me piped up unexpectedly to add that the currently planned launch date for the streaming service will be October 2021. Yes, I know that’s still just under two years away (actually exactly two years since the US launch), but at least now we know that Africa is at least in the conversation. There’s a plan! A plan that may change (as was stressed), but a plan nonetheless. That’s a far cry from a few months ago when I asked Disney Africa about it and was just greeted by a whole lot of nothing.

Continuing on, the Disney rep explained that Disney+ would actually have launched earlier if it wasn’t for the fact that some of the content on the service is currently tied up in broadcast deals with Multichoice that will only expire in 2021. I had also heard a few weeks ago via unconfirmed reports that Multichoice had actually approached Disney to licence out the new exclusive Disney+ content like The Mandalorian as well on top of their existing deals, but the House of Mouse turned it down. I must repeat: this is completely unconfirmed. However, it was all but confirmed that Disney is not licencing out content in general and prefer to hold onto programming until they can launch it exclusively themselves.

This is a massive bummer as by October 2021 the Marvel Cinematic Universe series for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, What if…?, and Hawkeye would all already have launched on Disney+ with us still not having a legal method of watching these shows. Shows that Marvel boss Kevin Feige has stressed multiple times will be building up to and spinning out of the movies that take place between them. So we’re going to officially get the movies locally, but not the series, meaning they will inevitably just be pirated to hell and back. Which, as the Disney rep himself admitted, “sucks”.

But at least when the service does eventually hits our shores, it will reportedly have a very affordable price point. Currently, Disney+ is $7 per month (around R100) with that monthly cost dropping to around $5.83 (R83) if you take an annual subscription. There’s also a fantastic bundle also including Hulu and ESPN on top of Disney+ for just $13 (R186). It’s uncertain if we’ll get the latter (especially considering Multichoice’s local monopoly on sport), but it would be a very lucrative option if we did.

Last Updated: December 19, 2019

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