דיסני+
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Photo: Disney+
Disney+ logo

'Disney+ for third world countries:' Streaming giant off to rocky start in Israel

As streaming service enters Middle East, Israeli consumers left fuming as company appears to be operated by Indian provider 'HOT STAR,' lacking many features available in U.S. and Europe, and with incomplete video library

Meirav Crystal |
Published: 06.17.22, 09:50
Where's Disney+? The consumers asked themselves as they tried to log into the app that was set to be available in Israel from Thursday morning.
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  • While the app was indeed available for download, the discounts offered to new subscribers were not.
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    דיסני+
    Disney+ logo
    (Photo: Disney+)
    Many of those who signed up for the pre-launch membership were expecting a 33% discount (26 NIS per month instead of 39 NIS), yet did not receive a code.
    The Israeli "YES" broadcast satellite television provider, meanwhile, announced Wednesday a collaboration with Disney+, through which its subscribers would be granted a free six month trial of the streaming service - following which, customers would pay 39 NIS per month.
    To qualify for the special time offer, customers have to sign up for YES by July 31st. Those who will sign up after the date will still enjoy a discount for Disney+, with a membership of 26 NIS per month for the first year.
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    Disney+ video library in Israel
    Customer complaints
    Besides lack of discount codes, many users were simply unable to log into the app, and of those that managed to do so, some reported major technical bugs.
    "I downloaded the app to my Samsung QLED TV. Its horrible that in 2022 a huge company like Disney is operating like this," one of the customers complained. "There is no option to fast forward or rewind, only jump 10 second back and forth. There is no function to play an episode from the beginning, the Hebrew is backwards in the search menu, content is missing, and all this is just from a brief scan of the app … I am very disappointed."
    Another customer said: "Anyone asking to give Disney some time needs to understand the fundamental problem is not the lack of content, but rather app itself … it's a very weird decision by Disney to consider Israel as part of the third world in the product they offer us, yet not in the price."
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    ארה"ב חברת וולט דיסני פלורידה
    Walt Disney company in Florida
    (Photo: AP)
    An additional subscriber also complained about Disney providing Israel with the third world country version of the product. "We received Disney+ for third world countries. There are so many missing features: Group Watch, the audio isn't properly split between left and right, there's no option to watch the trailers.
    "We just want to receive the same service as Europe and America. Not a knock-off that was produced by an Indian company that merely designed the app in a similar way. We pay 40 NIS - a higher price than the real Disney+, and we get 'HOT STAR' that costs 10-20 NIS in other countries. This has a name - being ripped off."
    Company officials confirmed the platform which supplies Disney+ in the Middle East is called indeed called HOT STAR, and belongs to an Indian supplier, varying from the one offered in the U.S.
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    דיסני פלוס
    Disney+
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Besides not including the IMAX option and shared viewing, the app in Israel doesn't offer trailers, behind the scene clips, playlists, or Sing Along options. However, as opposed to some claims, it does include 4K viewing.
    The Disney+ video library in Israel includes over 400 TV shows and over 3,000 films, but a lot of the content for children isn't dubbed into Hebrew, like The Lion King films.
    The company has not responded to request for a comment.
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