Disney + Literally Crashes Into Existence
Disney + Walt Disney’s new streaming service literally crashed into existence last night marred by technical problems.
Within hours thousands took to social media networks to complain, Glitch-tracker Down Detector recorded nearly 8,300 complaints about Disney+ over a 15-minute period as error messages appeared online.
Some subscribers had trouble getting the app to work as soon as they tried to log on in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada was waking up.
Problems reported on the @DisneyPlusHelp Twitter handle ranged from “service not available” to specific issues such as “The early seasons of The Simpsons are in the wrong aspect ratio.”
The service due to launch in Australia next week eventually started to stream as engineers solved the technical issues.
Bloomberg claimed that Disney is hardly the first media company to struggle with the technical side of streaming. In 2014, HBO’s streaming service crashed during the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.”
Even technology giants like Amazon and YouTube have had problems, though their glitches happened while broadcasting live sports online, which is seen as more difficult than streaming on-demand TV shows and movies. Disney bought a controlling stake in BAMTech, a leader in streaming technology, to run the back end of its online services like Disney+.
Streaming services often struggle when many people try to watch at the same time, said Dan Rayburn, the principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan, who writes for the website Streamingmediablog.com. “It’s hard because of the complexity of the workflow and doing it at scale,” Rayburn said.
It’s not just streaming shows smoothly, he added, but also managing the back-end database, like whether a user had paid and setting up a profile.
Despite the glitches Walt Disney shares climbed 1.87%.
Last week chief executive Bob Iger said on a call with his shareholders “We’re making a huge statement about the future of media and entertainment and our continued ability to thrive in this new era,”
At the same time, he announced a 66% drop in profits, and a 50% rise in costs, mostly attributed to the move to the creation of Disney+ which in Australia will compete for market share up against Stan, Foxtel and archrival Netflix.
In Australia several media Companies are clamouring to partner with Disney.
Kevin Mayer Walt Disney Company’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international has left the door open to potentially partnering its general entertainment streaming service Hulu with existing local streaming players in markets outside of the US.
He’s admitted that no deals have been struck. “Our proclivity would be to wholly own our services, just because we can control them and we think we can deploy them in the right way, the way we want to, the bundling we want to do and all the rest,” he said.
“However, given certain market conditions it might make sense to take on a partner. We haven’t identified any markets yet where we’re definitively going to do that. I would never say we simply won’t do that. There might be times where that does make sense.” he added.
Mayer cooled speculation about a tie-up with Stan in the near-term, with Disney focused on launching Disney+ in Australia next week.
Disney is entering a market already crowded with some major players including Netflix, Amazon.com and Apple.
The famous content Company believe they can become the “key player” with a product packed with the company’s best movies and TV shows, including “Star Wars,” Marvel and Pixar films, as well as its library of some 400 children’s movies.
“I feel great about what we’ve done,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said last week. “I love the app. It’s rich in content. It’s rich in brands. It’s rich in library.”
Priced at $8.99 a month in Australia, Disney+ is betting that the company can attract as many as 90 million subscribers worldwide in five years.
It’s all coming at great cost to the company. Mayer’s direct-to-consumer division saw its losses more than double to $740 million in the quarter that ended in September. The company doesn’t expect to make a profit on Disney+ for at least five years.
The Company is hoping that all the technical glitches and bugs are set to be out of the system by the time that the service launches in Australia on November 19th.