This, nonstop every week is unacceptable:
Customers continue to call them out in the comments:
Where is the work, Michael Paull?
This video here is one of the greatest we’ve seen in a while.
Why? Because it’s an excellent parody of Disney+’s practically tone deaf “Surprise” campaign where they show family friendly films like Inside Out or Coco and act like it’s surprising they’re streaming. Disney Streaming President Michael Paull’s team (the Disney+ President position was left vacant half a year ago) actually added their classic catalog, THAT would be a surprise. Let’s look at some of the content issues.
1) The Great Parental Controls Farce Of 2022
Yes, somehow they managed to completely botch adding full parental controls and unlocking all ratings, That’s what happens when you starkly refuse to license anything that uses the new ratings. It’s almost been 4 months. An analyst for Morgan Stanley wrote (via Variety), “(General entertainment) may be the primary variable in determining Disney’s ability to deliver on its FY24 streaming guidance.” So where is it?
Chapek’s line during the Q2 FY Earnings brought forth so much ire (sadly not unordinary for him). It has been chastised and ridiculed how he said Disney+ was “selectively” adding general entertainment to enhance Disney+ USA.
“We are selectively enhancing Disney+ with general entertainment titles designed to drive sign-ups amongst specific audiences and deepen engagement amongst those cohorts.”Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Disney Q2 FY2022 Earnings Call, May 2022
Just the same lip service being fed to USA over and over again. It’s never, “Hey, we’re gonna do good now.” It’s always, “Ok, so we know we’ve been talking up the adults in USA for 2 years now but we’re still not really here for you. Look the other way! We’re gonna keep making excuses and over-protecting you. Hulu is our commander.”
What we do get instead of Rated R films or TV-MA series are 4-5 ESPN 30 for 30 docs a month. Isn’t that cool? A brand that had never been advertised as part of Disney+ and a brand without a brand tile or even a COLLECTION (!) is now the primary content coming?
2) The Brand Tiles Dilemma
There MUST be reform at Disney+. They need to figure out an appropriate content strategy for everyone that is in line with their competitors. It’s fine to add ESPN content. For a while people have grown tired of the brand tile system for ignoring major brands like 20th Century Studios. It’s time for the brand tiles to go or to be properly refined and shared globally. None of this nonsense where USA, Latin America, Greece, and Türkiye have 5 tiles, the rest of the world has 6. Pick 5-10 total brands hubs and provide them everywhere.
Disney+ has so many code issues and a lot of that could be fixed if they didn’t make 1030430 different branches of the same service! Streamline! How many times has Star “bled” into the USA? It’s been weeks now since people noticed international Star Original The Wonder Years was showing on Disney+ USA as an “original.” Hulu Original Love, Victor is also listed as an Original. Neither have the watermark.
Make collections for Touchstone, ESPN, Hollywood Pictures, FX, etc. if you’re not going to give them a brand tile. This mostly relates to other countries but USA could certainly use a 20th Century Studios and ESPN collection / hub. This is common sense. Even Hulu with its terrible organization gets this. They have “hubs” or “collections” or whatever they call it for all studios. Lionsgate. AMC. You name it. Heck, even Netflix doesn’t have that level of structure. We often wish it was easier to see at a glance all the NBC or CBS content there, but they don’t make it easy.
The Star hub was always foolish for a few reasons.
- It serves as a “catch all” for anything that doesn’t fall under the other 5 brand tiles, making it a cumbersome mess, and yet they didn’t even provide the tile in USA to house the content we have like Avatar or Great Christmas Light Fight.
- It is too similar to Starz name and REGULARLY causes confusion. My gosh, the Reddit posts are hilarious. They fought lawsuits by Starz in Latin America to use the name because they were so desperate to use a name they aren’t even using in the USA and can’t use in Greece or Türkiye. The Hotstar or Touchstone names were right there…
- In Greece and Türkiye they get a ridiculous implementation where it’s a “collection” called “More Entertainment.” Their lack of consistency is mind-numbing. Just figure out a brand tile set that works globally and bring it to USA and Latin America.
Disney+ runs MANY different versions of their UI or platform depending on your region. How bizarre, how bizarre! They provided MENA countries a horrendously bad Hotstar knock-off that looks and acts nothing like Disney+.
3) Inconsistent Libraries Between Countries
It’s a trend. The list of titles going to the UK always includes 5-15 Nat Geo, Touchstone, Hollywood, or even Disney titles unavailable in USA. It would be one thing if these films and series were on Hulu or even another service, but it really looks bad when Nat Geo library that is sitting in Disney’s vault here is streaming there. What is the purpose of this?
In July, UK really stuck it to the USA by listing Fillmore!, one of the most requested animated series missing since launch. How this series is somehow skipping the rest of the world is anyone’s guess. The UK list also mentioned Moana and Little Mermaid Sing Alongs. Ironically, the day they release is one of the 2 days Disney’s lackadaisical content team has decided to skip. Did you hear about that? They now skip days every month. That’s one of the wonderful new things they’ve done as they’ve basically quit adding content in USA since January 1, 2022.
Those aforementioned ESPN 30 for 30s continue to drop in the UK and Canada, but they get titles that have not been added or scheduled for USA Disney+. For that matter, they seem to get twice as many per month as USA. Why must the USA be drip-fed everything even as it’s rolling out faster elsewhere? They continue to not even align their primary market with the other English-speaking markets. Australia, Canada, USA, UK – you’d think they’d get content at same time, particularly when they’re gradually rolling out this 30 for 30 line to all of us simultaneously. Why not coordinate those monthly titles to be the same ones?
That brings us back to Fillmore! What the heck? Now classic ABC cartoons are appearing in 1 country at a time? Some of these countries like the UK get triple the amount of monthly content we get in USA. Grouping out total with Hulu is not a fair trade. We refuse to do that. You can’t tell someone that two apps, two services that don’t even have a unified search are sharing one library. Hulu remains an outsider as far as we’re concerned.
Titles Exclusively In Certain Countries
- Aaron Stone — Disney XD series available exclusive via Disney+ Hotstar India.
- Baymax and Mochi — Available in UK, is streaming on DisneyNow
- The BFG — Left Netflix February 28 as part of “Exodus Day”
- Bridge to Terabithia — Left HBO 16 months ago, is streaming in Canada.
- Bunnytown — Disney Junior cartoon available exclusive via Disney+ Hotstar countries that launched just last fall.
- Dave the Barbarian — Disney Channel library toon available exclusively via Disney+ Hotstar in India.
- Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell — Left Netflix February 28 as part of “Exodus Day.” Probably intentionally held back until Halloween as it’s a Halloween special.
- Jungle Junction — Disney Junior cartoon available exclusive via Disney+ Hotstar countries that launched just last fall.
- Lorenzo — Left Netflix after 6 years last fall, streaming outside USA.
- Mickey Mouse Hot Diggity Dog Tales — Available in UK, is streaming on DisneyNow.
- Motorcity – Disney XD cartoon available exclusively via Disney Hotstar countries that launched just last fall.
- Owl Pellets (Owl House Shorts) — Available in UK, is streaming on DisneyNow.
- Penn Zero: Part Time Hero — Available exclusively in the Disney Hotstar countries that launched just last fall. One of the most requested missing series.
- Pixie Hollow Games — 1 of only 2 missing Disney Fairies franchise titles. Exclusive to Singapore. Pixie Hollow Bake Off remains unavailable globally.
- PrankStars — Disney Chanel unscripted library, a genre ignored on Disney+ USA. Available exclusive via Disney+ Hotstar.
- Rocket Man – Classic 90s Disney Pictures film, available exclusively via Disney+ Hotstar countries that launched just last fall.
- This Duckburg Life — Available in Eastern Europe.
- Tini: The New Life of Violetta — Left Netflix February 28 as part of “Exodus Day.”
- ZOMBIES: Addison’s Monster Mystery — Exclusively available in some Eastern Europe countries. Ridiculously not coming before ZOMBIES 3, which this series leads up to.
- Zorro — Available exclusively in Latin America since November, despite being promoted for Disney+ USA in MARCH 2020 (!)
(Please note this list is NOT comprehensive.)
Canada received a bonkers 90+ Nat Geo title drop a few months ago. All countries received a huge Star content drop in February 2021. People have DESPERATELY been clinging to false hope that the ad-tier would bring with it a drop of titles ranging from 100-800. We hear people reasoning and bargaining with the fates about how Disney is “probably” planning a content drop to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company next year. A drop that will bring many missing Disney Pictures films, classic Walt Disney hosted episodes of Disneyland, serials he produced… come on. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 13 times? How many years are we gonna keep letting Disney fool us? Until they come out and say it, we should absolute expect disappointment when it comes to Disney+ library, especially in USA.
4) Libraries Left Virtually Untouched
The Freeform Original movie library has been sitting in the vault since launch. If titles weren’t added day 1, they have been on Freeform.com, Hulu, or unavailable. There is a goldmine here. Prior to being Freeform it was literally called Fox Family and ABC Family. FAMILY. FAMILY FRIENDLY. All of those films fit on Disney+.
The Disney XD library has barely been touched since launch, with half of it still inexplicably unavailable while the same period of time of the Disney Channel library is fully added. If Disney added the ~20 Disney Branded TV and Disney TV Animation shows that streamed on “DisneyLife UK” merely 2 years ago (thus are digitized AND streaming-license friendly) instead of shoving them in the vault, THAT would be surprising.
The Fox Kids cartoon library has been unused by Disney since they acquired it with Freeform many years ago. Spider-Man and X-Men’s 90s animated series are about the extent. What about Life With Louie, Eek! The Cat, The Tick, NASCARS, Biker Mice From Mars, Peter Pan & The Neverland Pirates, Little Shop (Of Horrors), and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? The same can be said for the Jetix and Toon Disney cartoon library as well as all vintage 20th cartoons.
The Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures libraries remain in extreme circulation, alternating services monthly, overlapping 2-3 services at a time. Most services EXCEPT Disney+ get a handful each month including: Hulu, Roku, Peacock, Paramount+, Prime Video. HHBO, Netflix, Showtime, and Starz do not receive these titles. Dreamworks / Touchstone films additionally appear on HBO and Netflix in addition to these aforementioned services.
The classic Disney Pictures library is ignored for over a year. Check out this disaster here.
Disney Channel Premiere films: They only bothered to add 1. Ever. And that was almost 2 years after launch. Again, a true goldmine of classic films that hardcore Disney fans regularly pirate for “watch all the films” challenges. Films like Heidi and the Not Quite Human series would be great for Disney+. How ridiculous they aren’t just made available, legally.
We featured the legendary Director of the 1st ever Disney Channel Premiere film, Alan Shapiro. He shared with us his battle to get the film Tiger Town streaming. Historical. Award-winning. Critically acclaimed. So naturally, Disney wasn’t “playing ball” and keeps it on the bench because of a short jingle. They need to reform their leadership to be people who understand the true value of Disney’s library and will not tolerate their attitude of pretending everything older than 2010 doesn’t exist. It seems that original team of Agnes Chu, Kevin Mayer, and Ricky Strauss were on our side.
Titles Available In Disney+ Library
In September 2019, a techie hacked the yet-to-launch Disney+’s API and produced a sprawling list of all the library titles available. To this day, many have yet to arrive, despite their presence. Here are some highlights:
- The 7D — Disney XD series; one of the most requested missing shows.
- Brandy and Mr. Whiskers — Disney Channel series; one of the most requested missing series
- Dick Tracy (1990) – Left HBO 16 months ago, now on FreeVee, unavailable in any Disney+ country
- Mickey’s House of Villains — Left Netflix after 6 years November 2019; one of the most requested films.
- Snowed In at the House of Mouse — Left Netflix after 6 years November 2019; one of the most requested films.
They need leadership who make the sacrifices necessary to provide MONTHLY doses classic content alongside the originals and recent episodes of series. Saying “Peacock or Paramount+ or HBO Max” don’t do well either is not an excuse. Be better than them. They never pretended their service was going to prioritize their own catalog or buyout existing deals anyway. They also are more open to licensing 3rd party content. We don’t want that, we just want Disney on Disney+.
5) Unreliable Release Schedule
The disappointing “whenever we feel like it” thing they do with episode batches and specials better end when the ad-tier releases. Subscriber’s SHOULD NOT be left guessing when the next episode of Raven’s Home or Life Below Zero appears. The 2 Disney Channel Holiday Magic Quest specials appeared on Disney+ within a week of airing on TV. The new Summer Magic Quest special is the first to not even have a Disney+ arrival date. It’s expected in August… over a month after it aired and weeks after it became free on YouTube.
Recently Nat Geo abandoned the episode batch strategy opting to revert back to the Year 1 plan of waiting until a season had fully aired before adding it. But that comes with caveats. Some shows are taking a month to appear, others a week, others multiple months. They can fix this (and better) as soon as they have the ad-tier up and running.
All other services do next day episodes of content. Disney is holding back right now so they can still get maximum revenue from people watching on-demand or on DisneyNow or NatGeoTV.com. Once the ad-tier launches, they can get that extra revenue stream for next day episodes on Disney+ instead. They’ll make more money off ads there because advertisers will pay more to promote on Disney+ than they do on NatGeoTV.com and they’ll have access to a much larger audience. In the meantime, there’s no excuse why they haven’t incorporated a regular schedule for all their series and specials like “next week” or “next month” streaming of content.
If the (Dis)Content Team TRULY utilized the 3 years of requests that have piled up and provided the library Kevin Mayer and Bob Iger promised would be coming, THAT would be shocking. The 2022 trend of “4 ESPN 30 for 30s / 4 Disney Junior episode batches” a month is just not acceptable. Yet as usual, nobody in a place of power or authority is speaking out. Just little old us. Nothing will change.
Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.