Coronavirus crunch for Apple TV+ as Disney finds solutions

Streaming video services like Apple TV+ and Disney+ are facing a ‘coronavirus crunch’ in their release plans. The lockdown means productions have been put on hold, leaving them with potential holes in their programming schedules further down the line.

Disney+ is reportedly using one of its key advantages in the market to fill those holes …

The WSJ reports that Disney plans to use a combination of old and new movies to boost the appeal of its streaming service.

The shutdown of Hollywood is disrupting the Disney+ pipeline.

Walt Disney’s flagship streaming service is getting a big boost from subscribers stuck at home because of widespread stay-at-home orders, but several of the biggest releases headed to the platform have had production halted amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

To keep subscribers hooked, Disney has moved some big theatrical releases to the streaming service ahead of schedule. The latest Star Wars film, “The Rise of Skywalker,” is heading to the service two months ahead of schedule as part of a fan event.

The company also is mining its back catalog, urging viewers earlier this week to watch decades-old titles like the 1971 musical “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and 1990s favorites like “Sister Act.”

So Disney will be able to leverage its back catalog, as well as movies filmed but not yet released. Apple TV+, in contrast, will have a much tougher time with its own coronavirus crunch. It’s believed that the company had not completed filming on upcoming seasons of The Morning Show, For All Mankind, and Servant when it was forced to stop filming, meaning it could be short of programming when it comes to persuading people to start paying for the service once their one-year trial ends.

Apple is taking steps to boost its content, including free EPIX access and free trials of other services:

  • EPIX – Free access until May 2, no subscription required
  • Arrow Video Channel – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $4.99 per month
  • History Channel Vault – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $4.99 per month
  • Lifetime Movie Club – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $3.99 per month
  • Noggin – Limited time 2-month trial for new subscribers, then $7.99 per month
  • PBS Living – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $2.99 per month
  • Showtime – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $10.99 per month
  • Acorn TV – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $5.99 per month
  • Smithsonian Channel Plus – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $4.99 per month
  • A&E – Limited time 1-month trial for new subscribers, then $4.99 per month

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