It’s only the first day of Disney+’s arrival with a new STAR library in Singapore, along with the rollout of STAR content in other parts of the world such as Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada and audiences have been clamouring to sign up.

Fans across the country have been consumed by the variety of content on the platform, from ultra high definition 4K Star Wars movies, almost every movie that is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, popular hit shows including The Walking Dead and Lost, as well as Disney classics including DuckTales and Gargoyles.

In the lead up to the launch of Disney’s superior streaming service on the platform, there was speculation by mainstream media and the community on what content would be available here, and what would not?

Thus, there were some who felt that using a VPN service to connect to the US Disney+ service would provide a better and even cheaper experience. After all, why would Disney launch a stronger service here in Singapore, and not the US?

Well, we can tell you now that they are wrong and that a Disney+ Singapore (or any other country launched with STAR) account is the far better content stream to access, due to content ratings.

Price

There is no denying that pricing for Disney+ in the US is cheaper, at US$6.99 (S$9.22), compared to paying the local amount of $11.98. That’s about $2.75 a month in savings. 

But what if we told you that the library in the US is actually much smaller?

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For one thing, it lacks a larger number of movie and TV shows under the STAR banner, which makes its global debut today with Singapore, so you won’t get shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer or The New Mutants if you are in the US. But you can get these popular shows in Singapore. 

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Sorry, but who said that users here were using VPN to access Disney+ in the US? Why should they, when the stronger content library here means users there might actually want to VPN and access the service here…. except that they cannot. Read on to find out why.

Content ratings

The folks who say you should use a VPN to sign up for a cheaper US Disney+ didn’t cater for one thing – content ratings.

After we received feedback from Singapore users who could not access some titles in Disney+ Singapore, they realised that 1) it had to do with the various content ratings in each market and that, 2) they had previously signed up for Disney+ when it launched in the US. 

If you previously signed up for Disney+ in the US with an email address via a VPN, and try accessing Disney+ with the same log-in account in Singapore, you’ll be restricted to a library of titles following the US rating, which is limited to PG-13 rated films, and TV-14 TV shows. 

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There are no R-rated movies and TV-MA rated TV shows on Disney+ in the US. You can read more about US content ratings here.

This is because Disney links an account to the billing country upon signing up, so those who subscribed to the US service entered a US billing address, and hence, can only access content using the US rating system.

On the other hand, those who subscribe to the Disney+ Singapore service can access content that goes up to R21, because that’s what is available here, including NC16 content. You can find out more about Singapore’s content ratings here.

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Ergo, use a VPN and create a US account and you get stuck with a US content rating as the benchmark for shows you can access, which means no M18 or R21 content. But subscribe locally and you unlock a richer Singapore library of content due to the expanded ratings system.

Now, is there a way to get around this? We know of some Singapore customers who previously subscribed to the US service, who managed to contact Disney customer service to move the account to a local billing address, using local subscription rates, to access Singapore content. 

Wait, you’re complaining because you want to pay cheaper US subscription rates, but also want to access a richer Singapore library? Sorry, but you get what you paid for.

This article was first published in Geek Culture.



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