Disney Plus throttles streaming quality amid coronavirus outbreak

In Europe only, Disney joins Netflix, Apple TV Plus and more in the measure to help internet services cope with an increase in demand.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset Former Senior Editor / Culture
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
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Jennifer Bisset
2 min read

The home of Baby Yoda is taking measures to help internet services relieve traffic pressure.


Just about every streaming service is throttling video quality in Europe during the coronavirus quarantine. Disney Plus announced over the weekend it was joining Netflix , Apple TV Plus , YouTube and Amazon Prime in the measure taken to help internet services cope with an increase in demand while so many people are in self-isolation.

Disney Plus is set to launch in Europe in a couple of days, although unfortunately for France, Disney has pushed its launch from March 24 to April 7, at the request of the French government.

Disney Plus is "proactively instituting measures to lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25% in all of the markets launching Disney+ on March 24th," said Kevin Mayer, Disney's chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International, in a statement (via Forbes).

Going even further, Disney has hinted it may reduce quality again, depending on how things go.

"In the coming days, we will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand," Mayer said.

This all comes off the back of Netflix's decision at the end of last week to limit its bandwidth usage by 25%, after Netflix CEO Max Hastings received a request from EU Commissioner Thierry Breton to stop streaming high definition. Hastings chose not to go that far, but came up with the compromise.

YouTube announced it would take Netflix's route at the end of last week, swiftly followed by Amazon and Apple, though unlike Netflix, those services haven't shared to what extent bandwidth usage will be throttled.

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