After much anticipation, Disney launched its own streaming service – Disney+ – on Tuesday, but the service was plagued with technical difficulties on its first day, reports Recode. Frustrated subscribers turned to social media (#DisneyPlusFail) to air their concerns with unable to connect and not available in your country messages, slower-than-anticipated speeds and other problems. Some subscribers were understanding, as big technology launches almost always have some bugs, while others felt like Disney should have anticipated the problem.
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Disney released this statement in response, which acknowledges the problem but does not apologize for it:
The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. While we are pleased by this incredible response, we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them. We appreciate your patience.
They also tweeted this response, which received more than 3,200 comments:
According to Variety, Disney tested the new streaming service in the Netherlands in early September. While the soft launch offered limited content, the goal was to test the platform. During the test, Disney fans in the Netherlands could sign up for a free trial to watch Disney shows as well as content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. They could even stream on four devices simultaneously, get unlimited downloads and set up profiles, says Variety.
NBC News dubbed the launch Disney Minus, reporting a host of problems including log-in issues, inability to reach customer support timely, mislabeled episodes, etc. DownDetector reported that, by 9 a.m. Tuesday, more than 8,000 complaints had been logged. NBC News suggested that the problem may have been overly aggressive reporting on Disneys part. Did its promotions and huge fan base create too much demand? Or was Disney simply unprepared for the demand.
Another Variety article said that Disney has signed up more than 10 million users to date, including free trial users and Verizons unlimited wireless customers who are getting a free year of service. With those kinds of numbers, why wasnt Disney prepared? What went wrong?
Disney isnt saying a lot, so it is easy to see why so many subscribers are frustrated. The company has been offering promotional deals and accepting preorders for weeks. In fact, I purchased a one-year subscription to Disney+ for my daughters upcoming 25th birthday a week ago. With the holidays around the corner, Disney could have (should have?) anticipated this.
Sure, some glitches are expected – but isnt there any way they could have mitigated those glitches? If they were simply unavoidable, could Disney have handled the resulting PR nightmare better? Absolutely! Problems will occur, and people love Disney so much that they wont be turned off forever. But Disney could have been more gracious and forthcoming, letting frustrated subscribers feel heard rather than ignored. Except in rare cases, transparency is a good thing and often appreciated by subscribers.