Disney+ Set to End, Huge Content Disappearance Reported

in Disney, Entertainment

Disney officials presenting Disney+

Credit: Disney

Is Disney+ about to lose even more content while increasing their costs? Reports say so.

Disney+ was once a saving grace for the Walt Disney Company. Created by current CEO Bob Iger, the Disney streaming service grew at unprecedented rates compared to others, and because the one-stop-shop for all things Disney. Little did Iger know, that Disney+ was created at the perfect time, with COVID-19 and the pandemic rapidly approaching, which would shut down all their parks and force them to lose that stream of revenue for months.

Disney+ ad featuring Disney and Pixar characters
Credit: Disney+

But, all good things come to an end, right? 

Recently, Disney held their Q3 2023 Earnings Call. Here we saw that direct-to-consumer sales have increased 9%. That being said, Disney+ subscribers have dropped to 146.1 million. Disney’s goal for Disney+ subscribers was 154.8 million, so this now falls short. Disney’s “core” consumers increased by 1% — regardless, we are starting to see subscribers drop off now that Disney has begun to reduce the amount of content they are able to bring to their audience, the people paying for these services on a month-to-month basis.

Disney CEO Bob Iger continued to discuss how they have raised prices across Disney+ prices and that ad-supported Disney+ subscription service options have been purchased by 40% of users. Ad-free bundles will also be coming to the US for Disney+ and Hulu, which will, in turn, cost more as their current ad-free options do, increasing Disney+ revenue and decreasing our bank accounts for nothing added — in fact, the service had been detracting and removing content.

marvel-studios-disney-plus-characters
Credit: Disney Plus

Iger also announced that they’ll be cracking down on password sharing, making it impossible to split the cost of Disney+ with friends or family.

In less than a year, Disney+ will be increasing the monthly cost of its ad-free plan up $3 to $13.99 in October. Hulu, which Disney owns a majority stake in, will also increase the monthly cost of its ad-free subscription up $3 to $17.99.

What was removed from Disney+?

Disney+ is currently in the midst of a historic content purge, which has garnered the attention of fans from around the world. Disney removed more than 50 titles from both Disney+ and Hulu, including dozens of full-length films and series, in an attempt to cut costs. Now, having made it to Q3, we can see that this content disposal campaign has not helped their Disney+ numbers.

Collage of Disney+ programming
Credit: What’s On Disney Plus

We have seen tons of content lost on the platform, including Hulu as well, which has left many fans upset. Disney has been removing original titles to which they own the rights for, which has left their users confused and wanting to leave due to the lack of content currently available on the service..

Below, you can see the vast list of some of the canceled and removed programming. Disney has also chosen to end highly popular series like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series at the height of the show’s popularity.

Big Shot (Disney+)
Turner & Hooch [(Disney+)
The Mysterious Benedict Society (Disney+)
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (Disney+)
Willow (Disney+)
The Making Of Willow (Disney+)
Diary of a Future President (Disney+)
Just Beyond (Disney+)
The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+)
Marvel’s Project Hero (Disney)
Marvel’s MPower (Disney+)
Marvel’s Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever (Disney+)
Rosaline (Disney+)
Cheaper by the Dozen remake (Disney+)
The One and Only Ivan (Disney+)
Stargirl (Disney+)
Encore! (Disney+)
A Spark Story (Disney+)
Black Beauty (Disney+)
Clouds (Disney+)
Weird but True! (Disney+)
Timmy Failure (Disney+)
Be Our Chef (Disney+)
Magic Camp (Disney+)
Howard (Disney+)
Earth to Ned (
Disney+)
Foodtastic (Disney+)
Stuntman (Disney+)
Disney Fairy Tale Weddings (Disney+)
Wolfgang (Disney+)
It’s a Dog’s Life with Bill Farmer (Disney+)
The Premise (Hulu)
Love in the Time of Corona (Hulu)
Everything’s Trash (Hulu)
Best in Snow (Hulu)
Best in Dough (Hulu)
Maggie (Hulu)
Dollface (Hulu)
The Quest (Hulu)
The Hot Zone (Nat Geo/Hulu)
Y: The Last Man (FX/Hulu)
Pistol (FX/Hulu)
Little Demon (FX/Hulu)

The current subscriber loss comes on the helm of their previous quarter, sharing shattering news for the platform. Disney+ reportedly lost a total of four million subscribers in Q2 of 2023. This does not bode well for Disney, especially when considering this downward trend that started back in its Q1 earnings report. The streaming platform’s huge loss was partially down to the streamer’s Disney+ Hotstar offering in India and Southeast Asia losing the Indian Premier League (IPL) rights for the massive cricket nation.

Disney officials presenting Disney+
Credit: Disney

Previous Disney CFO Christine McCarthy outlined the company’s plan, saying, “We are in the process of reviewing the content on our DTC services to align with the strategic changes in our approach to content curation.” The comments come as Disney recently canceled projects like National Treasure and Lucasfilm’s Willow after just one season each.

“As a result, we will be removing certain content from our streaming platforms and currently expect to take an impairment charge of approximately $1.5 to $1.8 billion,” McCarthy said. “The charge, which will not be recorded in our segment results, will primarily be recognized in the third quarter as we complete our review and remove the content.”

The desire to take away so much content ended up causing other Disney+ users to cancel their subscriptions. A combination of price hikes and less content to watch no longer felt like a positive proposition for users.

Now, it is being reported that the content slashing is not over.

It seems that due to the Disney+ budget, slashing more shows and movies is possible, according to IGN. The article stated, “We don’t have any idea what kind of content is on the chopping block, but Disney’s statement did mention both produced content and licensed content, meaning content created by Disney itself and series or movies from other companies could all be impacted.”

disney plus presentation
Credit: ABC

The reason for their belief that more is coming to the chopping block is due to, “News of Disney’s “strategic realignment” first came in March, when CEO Bob Iger announced plans to lay off 7,000 employees in an effort to cut back $5.5 billion in costs. This came after Disney+ saw its first quarterly subscriber loss at the end of 2022.” This is something we have already discussed, and is likely to continue as we have seen an even further shift in the Disney+ strategy realignment with the recent service change announcements.

Interestingly, that article was written before the Q3 announcements and changes were made, where we did see a lot more change that was coming to Disney+. The article was placed on Reddit recently, however, where others have been discussing what they think about the possibility of more content loss.

Disney+ Logo
Credit: Disney+

One reader said, “Just subscribe for a month and watch the stuff you want, then unsubscribe. Do this for all streaming services while they have a commitment for 30 days.” This is a tactic that quite a few people have said they do for streaming services, interrupting Disney+’s returning subscriber numbers. At the moment, users can cancel at any time, but if this continues it wouldn’t be shocking to see Disney implement contracted purchases, which will lock you into a three, six, or even one-year plan.

Another said, “They still have tons of content in the vault that has yet to be added. Losing some of their recent productions is not going to hurt them as it’s not as prolific and nostalgic as their older content”, believing that better things will come in the future.

An interesting point was made here, “Can I ask a dumb question? How does it cost Disney money to have The World According to Jeff Goldblum on there? I haven’t looked to see if it’s been pulled, but this article says it has. I can understand not making more, but hasn’t the money already been spent? Why pull the show?”

disney plus mcu timeline
Credit: Screenshot via Disney+

The answer? Residuals. Disney has to continue paying residuals for the show. By pulling it, they no longer have to, and they have the option to license it out where they can profit further.

Luckily, no further content has yet to be deleted from Disney+, but it will be interesting to see if this model of “strategic change” does create another round of content purge in the future.

What do you think about the recent changes announced for Disney+?

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