How Disney+ Adding Mature Content Will Open New Doors


After nearly two-and-a-half years of existence, Disney+ is finally including R-rated content on their platform. They’ve already been doing so under the Hotstar and Star sections in international markets for a while, but this is the first time they’re doing so in America.

It was recently announced that Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and all of Marvel’s other Netflix Original Series are heading to Disney+ on March 16 in several markets, the U.S. included. With these shows becoming the first R-rated projects to hit the streaming service in America, as previously mentioned, it’s likely more mature titles will follow in the coming years, especially if the move proves successful and draws in old and new subscribers. In fact, as the series migrate from Netflix to Disney+, a new parental control system for R-rated content will also be introduced to the platform, further opening the door for TV shows or movies the streamer could add down the road.

Disney+ has been trying to walk a fine line since the streamer was first announced. It initially seemed like a more niche streaming service primarily for families (part of its initial pitch to consumers was that there would be no need for parental controls or guidance over what children watched on it) and major Disney fans who wanted access to all of the studio’s content in one place. But high profile series from the Star Wars and Marvel camps were soon announced, which widened the appeal of the platform.

Disney+ quickly became one of the top streaming services in the world, but its library didn’t quite measure up to those of its peers. There was plenty of content for families and superfans of certain franchises, but not nearly as much for general adult audiences as Netflix or HBO Max, other than programs like the pro-shot of Hamilton’s Original Broadway Cast. It’s essentially a top streaming service with relatively niche content, but the Disney brand is so strong that it has managed to survive — even thrive — despite this.

Disney+ has seemingly had a bit of an identity crisis in this regard up until now, but it looks like it’s finally widening its net and starting to treat itself like a streaming service for everyone, non-fandom adults included. Some parents may be disappointed that its full library will no longer be 100% “safe” for kids, but hopefully, the parental controls will be easy to use and calm those concerns. Additionally, those adults primarily subscribing for exclusive content from their favorite fandoms may have reason to stay subscribed to the platform during the “dry spells” when no new titles are being released from those franchises.

Of course, the big question is, where does Disney+ go from here under these new “rules”? Will it begin producing original R-rated content of its own? Will it end up absorbing Hulu (a more adult-geared Disney-owned streaming service)? Or will it simply continue adding existing mature content to its library for now?

Regardless, Disney+ is already a juggernaut in the streaming wars, but this decision opens up a lot of doors that will likely make it an even bigger one in the years to come.

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