As Disney continues to dominate the streaming world with Disney+, it is no surprise that the company is looking to gain subscribers worldwide.
Disney now owns the subscription service Hulu, but it is not available to all countries. In certain countries, including Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, subscribers cannot access Hulu, so Disney launched Star in February of this year to answer the problem. Essentially, Star is a free tier in Disney+ that has several shows that are often intended for an older audience, just as Hulu does. This means shows from FX and movies from 20th Century are now available to stream on Star within Disney+.
Related: Everything Coming to Disney+ In June
In August 2021, Latin American countries will be able to access Star+, which will carry ESPN content for subscribers. But with the name of the new branch of the streaming service has come complications. TV network Starz has hit Disney with three trademark infringement lawsuits due to the similarities.
It was reported that:
Starz is arguing that the name of Disney’s forthcoming streaming service is too similar with Starz, particularly its own streaming service StarzPlay, which operates in 58 countries worldwide and has been available in Latin America since 2019. Because StarzPlay and Star+ fall in the same category, Starz argues they are too close in name and will lead to customer confusion.
Starz has already challenged Disney on the name of their new service, noting that it is “extremely likely to cause customer confusion in the Latin American marketplace and infringes on Starz’s marks.” It was also noted that Disney must respond to the Brazil lawsuit by June 14; however, we are unsure when the deadline for the Mexico and Argentina lawsuit will occur.
If Disney does comply with these changes, they will likely need to change the name of the integrated streaming service, which would be a surprising move considering the new addition was just rolled out to over 17 countries. We will now have to wait and see if Disney does make any changes to Disney+ and Star/Star+due to the lawsuits at hand.
What do you think of this ongoing story? Should Disney change the name of the Star streaming service in Latin America due to the similarity to the already existing Starz service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!