Breaking Down Disney’s Localization Plans across Asia

Earlier this month, Disney announced a slew of new content for Asia and the Pacific (APAC) that includes nearly 30 new titles to be released all across the region, where the company recently launched (or plans to launch) its streaming services in numerous Asian territories.

This includes a line-up of original content produced for Disney Plus in the local languages of South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, mainland China, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Disney also announced a new series of locally oriented content in Australia as well. The entertainment company announced the move on Oct. 13 at a pan-Asian content presentation held in Tokyo; the broad array of content planned for the near future was dubbed its “most ambitious production effort in Asia,” according to Variety.

“We’ve rolled it out in APAC starting from Australia and New Zealand to markets in Southeast Asia and are now turning to Northeast Asia,” said Disney’s Asia-Pacific president Luke Kang, in an interview with Variety. “As part of that, we know that local language content is a critical component in making sure that we are connecting with the consumer, not just in home markets, but also regionally.”

At the presentation earlier this month, Kang told audience members that Disney’s goal is to release a total of 50 original series and shows in the region by 2023.

When asked by Variety about why the company planned so much content for mainland China despite the fact that it cannot operate as a broadcaster or streamer in the country, Kang noted that there remains an audience for Disney’s content in the country and said that entertainment produced in mainland China has a wide audience across East Asia.

“We are a major player [in mainland China]. We have a very long-term view on relationships,” he told Variety. “Over the last ten years in China, not everything was successful. But in aggregate, no one cannot argue with our overall success as a company in China. Going forward, we are very optimistic.  Short term challenges will eventually iron themselves out.”

It should also be noted that, while the company does plan to launch series and shows across the continent, Disney has also pulled numerous channels across South East Asia — since Disney Plus remains unavailable in countries like the Philippines and Vietnam, residents of these countries are currently unable to watch Disney content easily. It remains to be seen whether Disney will expand its outreach to launch the streaming services in these countries as well.

Andrew Warner
Andrew Warner is a writer from Sacramento. He received his B.A. in linguistics and English from UCLA and is currently working toward an M.A. in applied linguistics at Columbia University. His writing has been published in Language Magazine, Sactown Magazine, and The Takeout.

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