DUBAI: The launch on Wednesday of Disney+ in the Middle East and North Africa was hindered by teething problems when users in the region reported difficulties accessing the platform.
Launched during an event at the Dubai Opera center, the arrival of Disney+ to the region was hailed by the production company’s MENA director, Tamim Fares, as “a global initiative tailored specifically” for MENA Disney fans.
Fans shared news of the new service on Twitter with captions such as, “finally,” and “can’t wait."
However, viewers in some parts of the region were reportedly unable to access the streaming platform despite Disney announcing that the service would be available in 16 countries. While others complained about the lack of Arabic subtitles and limited number of titles available to MENA audiences.
One user in Saudi Arabia said: “The service is still unavailable, and I am in Saudi.”
In response to the initial setbacks, Disney+ spokesperson told Arab News: "If subscribers with a foreign app store prefer to not change their region, there are other options. This includes creating a new iCloud account using the MENA-based country they are in, then downloading the Disney+ app. After this, they can go back to their original iCloud account without losing any payment data or other subscriptions."
Others expressed their frustration on social media about what they claimed was the limited number of series available to MENA audiences, and the lack of Arabic subtitles for some TV shows.
مسلسل daredevil و the punisher ليه مو متوفرة ؟
— Mohammed (@i4mohd) June 8, 2022
While users complained about the lack of Marvel titles, the spokesperson told Arab News that many Marvel films and series will be coming to Disney+ MENA at the end of June.
In response to the lack of Arabic subrtitles for all titles, Disney+ spokerson highilghted that the platform's ultiamte goal is to have all movies and series on Disney+ available in Arabic, but this process takes time to do right.
"In the meantime, Disney+ has launched with all content available in English, and most available with subtitles in Arabic. Plus, the latest titles and majority of the fan-favorites, like Disney’s Encanto and Pixar’s Turning Red, are also dubbed into Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic," they added.
During the launch event in the UAE, Fares said that Disney+ in the region would include special features, and the dubbing of shows in Egyptian and Classical Arabic (Fusha), with most having Arabic subtitles.
Mohammed Diab, lead director of “Moon Knight,” a Marvel series, said representation mattered in televised content, adding that he had been successful in producing the series because he felt he had the best representation and had been successful incorporating Arabic music into the series.
Sarah Goher, producer of the series, helped Diab to choose the soundtracks for the series and said she felt “euphoric” to see the region’s music on air, adding she was delighted to watch children singing classical songs by singers such as Warda after the series aired.