Disney's premium streaming service, Disney+, will launch across Europe on Tuesday with temporarily degraded video quality, according to Reuters. The measure aims to reduce the burden on the continent's data networks as millions of people switch to working from home.
In a company statement, Disney said it had agreed to a European Union request for streaming-video providers to "ensure the smooth functioning of the broadband infrastructure."
Anticipating higher consumer demand, the company is instituting measures to "lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25 percent in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th," said Kevin Mayer, head of Disney's Direct-to-consumer and International business.
In addition, the launch of Disney+ has been delayed in France by two weeks on request of the French government. Disney+ will now launch in the country the week of April 7.
Facebook yesterday also committed to downgrade video streaming quality across its social media platforms, including Instagram.
Last week, the European Union asked streaming services to consider temporary reductions in streaming quality due to the abnormally large number of people working from home and taking advantage of streaming services amid the viral outbreak. Netflix, YouTube, Apple TV+, and Amazon all responded to the call.
Currently, streaming content providers have only been asked to lower streaming quality in Europe, so the lower streaming rates do not affect the United States and other countries. The United States has not called on streaming content providers to implement data reduction measures.
It's not clear how long Disney plans to stream with reduced quality and whether tweaks will be made for a better compromise between quality and data usage. Netflix said that it will continue using the lower quality stream for the next 30 days.