You might have thought “Wreck It Ralph” was in charge when Walt Disney launched its highly anticipated Disney+ streaming launch on Nov. 12. The reason was the launch hiccups that left many people who wanted to enjoy the service on day one frustrated.
Disney ended up with 10 million signups in the first 24 hours, by all accounts a huge number. But technical glitches cast a dark spell for some of those customers, and not all the problems have been fixed.
What went wrong?
Speaking at the Code Media 2019 conference, Disney Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International Kevin Mayer blamed coding errors. “It had to do with how we architected a piece of the app,” he said, while explicitly stating that the problems had nothing to do with rumored Amazon (or other third-party) capacity problems. Mayer added that Disney plans to recode and update the software.
The problems arose despite Disney owning one of the best streaming companies on the planet, Disney Streaming Services, which grew out of its purchase of a controlling interest in BAMTech in 2017.
“As prolific as BAMTech has been, we never had demand like we saw that day and that we’re continuing to see,” Mayer said on the Code stage.
Mayer also conceded there were customer service issues that “didn’t make me feel good.”
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Assuming everything is properly fixed, Disney can still have a storybook ending, provided all the people who have or plan to try out the new service stick around.
Disney+ costs $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year and features iconic content from the Disney studio itself, plus Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. But some people are checking out the service gratis, as a one-year freebie perk that Verizon is offering customers.
The arrival of Disney+ further crowds the already congested subscription-based streaming landscape occupied by, among others, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple with more to come.
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