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Library expansion: a good solution for Disney+?

The recent expansion of the Disney+ content library, the flagship streaming service of The Walt Disney Company (DIS), has caused controversy among US users. However, the decision to add new shows may be more reasonable regarding commercial success in the long run. The company has faced criticism for adding films and series rated for older age groups to the list of content available in the United States. Some users considered it a wrong step because, for them, Disney+ is exclusively a family channel. 

At the same time, the media giant has never officially made promises about the content because the criticism that has arisen is instead the result of some American users’ deceived expectations. The reason Walt Disney is expanding its library with films and series with a more “adult” rating is high competition. Most competing services have special locks that allow parents to control the content viewed by their children. Accordingly, there is no problem with the fact that the selected streaming operator stores R-rated films in its library (persons under 17 are allowed only accompanied by parents or guardians). 

Outside the United States, Disney+ also includes films with such a rating, while until recently, in the United States, the choice was limited exclusively to products for family viewing. At the beginning of the year, the management of Disney+ noted that a rich library of content had become one of the main drivers of growth in international markets because the company intends to expand its offer to the American market. In the long run, this may be a winning decision for Walt Disney, despite the criticism from some public associations. 

The United States has the world’s largest streaming video market: it is at about $34 billion, which is 85% more than the second largest market in China. Any significant content restriction may worsen the competitive position of Disney+ in the United States and lead to the loss of subscribers. Expanding the library, on the contrary, will help the company gain leadership positions, making Disney+ a more versatile and comprehensive platform.

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