Facebook and Disney are joining Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and YouTube in reducing streaming video quality in order to lighten the load on the internet in Europe, as more people start working and learning remotely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Disney will also delay the release of its Disney Plus streaming service in France in accordance with government requests, Reuters is reporting.
Disney has committed to reducing its Disney Plus video quality in Europe, to reduce the strain it places on the continent’s internet infrastructure. On the same day as Disney’s announcement, Facebook said it too would be reducing the quality of videos on its services, including Instagram, Reuters reports.
Disney Plus, which was supposed to launch on March 24th in France, will instead reportedly launch the week of April 7th, according to Disney. That’s two weeks after it was initially set, and two weeks after other European markets will get the streaming service. Disney has not said if people in other countries set to receive Disney Plus, including the UK, will face delays.
New subscribers in those regions will see a reduced quality in streaming, however, when the service launches. Disney will “lower our overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25 percent in all of the markets launching Disney Plus on March 24th,” according to Kevin Mayer, head of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division.
Facebook has also made similar commitments for videos on its services. “To help alleviate any potential network congestion, we will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in Europe,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters. The measures will continue for as long as there are concerns about internet gridlock.
Other streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, and YouTube have also committed to reducing video playback streams in order to lessen broadband strain.
Available bandwidth continues to be a concern globally as more people stay indoors in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Nielsen is estimating that people staying home “can lead to almost a 60 percent increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases and potentially more depending on the reasons.”
Update March 23rd, 6:14AM ET: Updated with information about Facebook reducing video streaming quality.