At one point, streaming services existed to make television more accessible for cheaper prices. Now, they are just replacing cable packages, with every network creating its own independent platform for its content to be viewed.
Disney recently launched another of these services, Disney+, and though it has tons of content, it isn’t really anything special.
The first issue with Disney+ is the lack of necessity. Disney already owns Hulu, a very popular streaming platform with tons of great original content such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Letterkenny.” Disney hosted a lot of its content on Hulu, but decided to make the financial move to separate Hulu from the original Disney creations to maximize profit.
The next problem with Disney+ is the lack of new original content. Of course, Disney has massive backlogs of content to peruse and enjoy, but part of the reason people subscribe to all of these different services is so they can consume that platform’s exclusive content. If you own Disney movies on DVD, being able to stream them isn’t much of a commodity.
On launch day, the original Disney+ content consisted of two shows about theatre, a Star Wars show that may have something to do with the original trilogy, a Hallmark-style Christmas movie, a few Pixar shorts and a horrific-looking “Lady and the Tramp” “live-action” remake. Disney has been advertising all of the new content it will place on their Disney+ service, but barely anything interesting was available at launch, and they are only releasing episodes once a week. So, if you don’t want to subscribe and only have your one-week free trial, you must have the patience to wait until everything you want to watch is released, and then binge it like a madman.
Functionally, the Disney+ user interface isn’t holding its own against its competitors. It doesn’t have a “continue watching” section, which is pretty standard for every other service. That alone is enough to make users genuinely agitated while navigating the site, because if you want to watch the next episode of a show, you have to search for the show and scroll to whatever episode you’re on.
There is no progress bar on the episodes while you are browsing, and the main screen just says “Play.” So, if you are trying to tell a friend what episode you are on, you have to either start playing the show, or just guess.
The final major problem is when you click the “Movies” or “Series” sections, the site shows you the featured selections in that category. That means that you have to click multiple times to find what you want to watch, as opposed to what Disney wants you to watch. Three of the four featured movies on my account are the scary “Lady and the Tramp,” the tacky Hallmark movie and the live-action “Dumbo,” which has a score of below 50% from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t want to watch these movies, and I shouldn’t have to see them whenever I try to play “Atlantis” or “Treasure Planet.”
Overall, Disney+ is not currently worth the price. The lack of new content and the strange user interface issues make the site lackluster and cumbersome. The only reason I have it is due to the free year offered if you have certain Verizon plans.
Disney+ costs $6.99 a month and is available now.