Why Doesn’t Disney+ Properly Utilize Their Coming Soon Row? Disney Should Learn From HBO Max and Netflix.

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March 22nd Update: No page was ever given to Weekend Family, Embrace the Panda, More Than Robots, or Cheaper By The Dozen. Now we can add Pinocchio, Sketchbook, and Ms. Marvel to the list of major originals awaiting addition to the Coming Soon row. It is also very likely Olivia Rodrigo and Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse will be disrespected as they release in a few days. Highly inadequate work.

History lesson time!

On November 12, 2019, Disney+ launched. One of the things people often mentioned in their reviews and initial impressions as their favorite surprise was the presence of 150 “pre-installed” titles pages for future arrivals. This level of transparency was super refreshing from a streaming service. Over the first 2 years of the service, missing films arrived on schedule.

Disney did make a couple of their typical blunders with Maleficent and Tomorrowland. Both titles arrived in 2020 and 2021 respectively, but were pulled from the service after less than a month of availability. We still can’t believe the unprofessionalism of promoting Tomorrowland‘s arrival for TWO years only to remove the title 3.5 weeks after it arrived and send it back to Starz. This “classy” trick was played again with Million Dollar Arm which joined and then promptly left the service in December 2021.

Despite these pre-installed pages, one of the top 3 most common requested features was a proper Coming Soon page along the lines of Netflix and HBO Max’s top-tier features. After all, these built-in reserved pages only promoted upcoming Disney films. No Fox films or series of any kind were included. Another reason people wanted a true Coming Soon section was to make it easy to browse which titles were coming. Disney’s pre-installed pages only appeared if you searched for them. What if you just wanted to see the full list?

Fast forward two years:

On November 12, 2021, Disney added a Coming Soon section. Well, they added a Coming Soon row to the homescreen. People rejoiced over this awesome Disney+ Day surprise. We were finally heard. Except, it didn’t take more than a few hours before the shine wore off and tweets and comments began to surface questioning why it was implemented so poorly. Four primary complaints have persisted in the 3.5 months since with no sign of improvement coming.

“Disney struggles to understand the importance of providing their paying customers appropriate avenues to connect after experiencing the trailer or poster.”

The first common complaint noted how most of the upcoming films and series featured were not “coming soon” at all. Nearly every title listed was at least half a year away and had no actual release date. As time went on, frustration grew that Disney+ team seems incapable of adding the next month’s upcoming content when the press releases go out. Netflix and HBO Max have no problem doing this.

The bulk of Disney+’s Coming Soon row remains the same 4 months later. Yikes.

The next big disappointment centered around the row almost entirely featuring Originals. HBO Max and Netflix understand the importance of promoting upcoming library alongside originals.

The third complaint is that Disney’s Coming Soon is not organized into release order. Netflix’s superior section breaks the content into 3 rows: Coming This Week, Coming Next Week, and Worth The Wait. HBO Max organizes its titles in a calendar-like format with the actual release dates. Disney’s jumbled-order, half-arsed Coming Soon row doesn’t stack up next to those.

The fourth major complaint we still see to this day is that people wanted a Coming Soon page, not a row. As we’ve probably made clear by now, people wanted to see more titles, added regularly, in proper order, and in a place where people can expect to find it. Disney+ wants you to scroll down the homescreen until you find ever-changing location of the row. Again, Netflix and HBO Max do this correctly by featuring the Coming Soon page in their navigation bars.

Netflix Does Coming Soon Better

Netflix’s far superior implementation of a Coming Soon feature

HBO Max Does Coming Soon Better

HBO Max’s far superior implementation of a Coming Soon feature

Now that we’ve established the failings of Disney+’s barely used Coming Soon row, we’d like to close by sharing undeniable proof the row is a waste of code.

Disney Doesn’t Use The Coming Soon Row

After a recent few weeks of announcements, there are a whopping 11 (!) upcoming Originals arriving within 90 days that are not promoted. In the past 3 months Disney has added only 2 (!) titles to the so-called “Coming Soon” row: West Side Story and Turning Red. Not only that, they waited almost 2 months to add a page for Turning Red after the move to Disney+ got announced and trailer released.

This would NEVER happen at Netflix or HBO Max. These services both seem to understand that press releases, trailers, and release date reveals should be accompanied by same-day additions of the title’s pages on their service. Common user behavior is to search out upcoming titles they’re interested in watching to add to their watchlist while it’s fresh on their mind. This keeps people from forgetting or missing the title when it releases. Netflix, the top streaming service, has trained people to expect this opportunity. Disney struggles to understand the importance of providing their paying customers appropriate avenues to connect after experiencing the trailer or poster.

We’ve been tracking the list of upcoming originals without representation in the Coming Soon row since it launched right here. For your convenience we now present the large list of upcoming originals and library without pages. Disney’s coming soon row is truly a misnomer. What it should be titled is: “Coming A Long Time From Now: 5 Titles We Added Teasers For On The Day We Launched This Row Row.”

Coming Soon To Disney+ (For Real)

Upcoming Unpromoted In-App Originals

March 9 – Weekend Family (Disney+ France Original) Disney also has not released this English language trailer in the USA…

March 11 – Embrace the Panda: Making Turning Red 

March 18 – More Than Robots

March 18 – Cheaper by the Dozen

March 23 – Parallels (Disney+ France Original)

March 25 – OLIVIA RODRIGO: driving home 2 u

March 25 – The Wonderful Spring of Mickey Mouse

April 1 – Better Nate Than Never

April 13 – Scrat Tales

April 22 – DisneyNature Polar Bear

May 20 – Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers

May 25 – Obi-Wan Kenobi (Special note on this one: for some moronic reason the teasers for titles they added on Disney+ Day are not proper reserved title pages. They are literally pages for the teasers themselves (classified as movies) so while Obi-Wan is a series, its “coming soon page” is listed as a movie. Yes, there is a page for Obi-Wan, but they do not add the important “Coming to Disney+ May 25, 2022” message. We discovered this when Proud Family : Louder and Prouder premiered without Disney ever bothering to install the actual date, despite our tweets and feedback. It’s amateur hour there. Obviously the sensible implementation would be to list the proper title page and put the teaser video behind the usual “trailer” or “clip” button.

Compare these two photos for easier understanding:

Note on the Obi-Wan page the duration is listed as 1 minute. This is another clue the page is for the teaser itself.

Upcoming Unpromoted In-App Library

March 4 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

March 16 – Big City Greens (New Episodes)

March 16 – Miraculous Tales Of Ladybug & Cat Noir (New Episodes)

March 16 – Muppet Babies (New Episodes)

March 16 – Spidey And His Amazing Friends (New Episodes)

March 16 – Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil, Defenders, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Punisher – arguably the most notable additions since launch. Yesterday’s press release should have been accompanied by their pages going live. Any other service would have done that.

March 18 – Step

April 22 – Explorer: The Last Tepui

April 22 – The Biggest Little Farm: The Return

May 27 – We Feed People

Why do we even have a coming soon row?

Whether the issue falls on the shoulders of EVP of Operations, Alisa Bowen, or Marketing President, Asad Ayaz, it’s time for change. It worries us considerably that we have tagged Mr. Ayaz in tweets on a monthly basis for over a year pointing out the lack of “coming soon pages” for upcoming originals, weeks after their trailer releases. Not surprisingly, nothing has improved. Regardless of his job description, he is in a position to nudge the proper parties. Reserved title pages in the coming soon section are absolutely marketing related.

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.