We love a good binge-watching session as much as the next person.
And when it comes to streaming some of our favorites from the Disney media library, Disney+ seems to be the best place to go. So why is Disney streaming struggling?
Disney owns so many media options, now. You can watch the classic Disney films and Disney Channel shows, not to mention the libraries from Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and Fox.
Despite this, during its first quarter 2023 earnings report, Disney confirmed that Disney Plus lost subscribers for the first time in its history. Between October and December 2022, the streaming platform’s global user base shrunk by 2.4 million.
So what happened? When you look at the breakdown, domestic Disney+ subscribers (in the U.S. and Canada) increased from 46.4 million to 46.6 million, and international subscribers (excluding Disney+ Hotstar) increased as well. With Disney+ alone, the subscriber count went from 102.9 million to 104.3 million. Not a huge increase, but an increase nonetheless.
The main problem area is with Disney+ Hotstar (only available in international markets). The service lost 6% of its subscribers in the past quarter, dropping from 61.3 million to 57.5 million total. So technically, no losses from Disney+ directly in the domestic markets, even though the overall number has decreased. As far as ESPN+ and Hulu go, both of those services are up in subscriber count as well, with 24.9 million and 48 million, respectively.
Why are Disney+ subscribers mad enough to cancel their subscriptions? Let’s look at some factors.
The first factor could be Disney’s political stance. The trend to cancel Disney+ and Disney World in domestic markets has originated from people who are expressing their frustration with Disney’s views. And this comes from both sides of the political spectrum. There is the conservative side that expresses concern that Disney is using its media platform to promote a “woke” agenda. And then there is the flip side of the coin, with communities feeling that Disney has failed to adequately or openly include LGBTQ+ representation or the stories of other marginalized peoples.
In this same vein, Disney Plus also provides limited content for audiences beyond America/Europe. There’s the problem that Disney Plus doesn’t really cater to Indian or Southeast Asian audiences, which is the largest market for media consumption. When families don’t see stories that reflect their culture, communities, or families, then that appeal will likely decline, as we have already seen.
The second factor is also the rate of new, unique content releases. Though Disney Plus continues to release shows every few months, many of them have not had the draw or popularity of The Mandalorian or Hawkeye. Series and shows like Extraordinary, Willow, and Limitless with Chris Hemsworth are not the subscriber drivers, or even user retainers Disney needs them to be. If people don’t believe they’re getting value for money, they’re more likely to cancel their subscriptions.
The final factor is the price tag. The ongoing cost-of-living concern means consumers are being more careful about what they spend their money on. Last year in the UK, two million people canceled their subscriptions to streamers, including Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus. With people tightening the purse strings, streaming subscriptions are falling across the board.
We got some interesting quotes from that Quarter 1 earnings call as well. Bob Iger noted that they “can’t get growth without growing subscribers, but we’re looking to grow quality subscribers that are loyal.” Iger also noted that they’re looking to “lean more into our core franchises and our brands” and “rebalance marketing of the platform versus marketing of the programs.” It looks like we’ve got some changes on the horizon!
NEWS: Disney Adding Hulu Content to Disney+ App
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Do you have a Disney+ subscription? What do you think about its current library of content? Let us know in the comments below!
The post Why People Are Mad At Disney Plus Right Now first appeared on the disney food blog.