Cancel Disney+! That seems to be the anthem for many as Disney is scheduled to fall short of its 245 million subscriber goal set by then-CEO Bob Chapek in August of 2022.
As The Walt Disney Company continues struggling to build relationships with its viewers, many are jumping ship as price hikes are coming. Announced by now-CEO Bob Iger, Disney+ will see price increases beginning October 12, equating to a 27% jump for service with no ads. Hulu, owned by Disney, will also see a 20% increase in no-ad subscriptions on the same date. Subscribers have had enough and are hitting cancel on Disney’s service in record numbers.
Subs Call to “Cancel Disney+”
Between October 2022 and January 2023, Disney+ lost 3.8 million customers, as fans became outraged with the seeming disconnect that The Walt Disney Company currently shares with its audience. Although popular programs belonging to successful franchises like Star Wars and Marvel were explicitly developed to salvage Disney streaming service, the strategy isn’t working as many conservatives who’ve followed Disney their entire lives are tuning out to block the progressive stance the company has taken.
Disney+ No Longer Available in India
The hits are still coming despite Disney experiencing steady growth for some of their other platforms, like ESPN and Hulu, who have since seen a significant drop-off. The answer to a failing streaming service from Disney has been to move the marker. If the number to achieve is set lower, Disney expects to be able to hit goals by this time next year. However, a failed deal to win cricket streaming rights in India has severely impacted subscriber numbers, creating the problematic outlook that Disney may not stay within current projections, even with a lower set bar. Although in 2020, an initial target of 260 million subscribers for India was estimated by the end of the fiscal year in 2024. However, that number has now been lowered, and many question Disney’s ability to reach their new subscriber goal.
Disney Continues to Alienate Its Audience
Following a dispute with Charter Cable, the second-largest cable provider in the world, The Walt Disney Company was faced with severe criticism by subscribers to the network as Charter service went dark leading up to the start of the college football season. Since, Disney and Charter have come to an agreement, and services were restored to some 15 million cable television customers right before the start of Monday Night Football. However, the push-and-pull act between Disney and Charter has left a decaying fan base feeling even more sour towards the media giant.
Calls to cancel Disney+ subscriptions continued, bolstered by the dispute, adding fuel to the powder keg of traditional Disney fans who long for the days of products that don’t hold their foundation in political issues and pushing agendas.
“Disney has quickly spiraled from fantasy and fairytales to woke magical mind games meant to confuse our kids, destroy their innocence and suck the fun out of everything — including our kids’ imaginations.” – Lauren DeBellis Appell.
As Disney’s stance regarding hot topic issues such as sexually oriented education in Florida schools continues under CEO Bob Iger, many feel that the company has lost the foresight to understand its viewers on an intimate level. Some would go as far as to say that the problem isn’t solely expressed through Disney+ and subscription numbers. The backlash has also impacted attendance numbers at Disney’s most profitable businesses like Walt Disney World. In addition, many find the out of nowhere cancellations of popular Disney shows concerning and reason to leave the service.
Liquidate Your Assets Before They All Cancel Disney+
The Walt Disney Company finished its fiscal third quarter with approximately 146.1 million subscribers, well beneath its initial goals. Even though the company experienced a recent 1.2% increase in share value due to the finalized agreement with Charter that blanketed in millions of new customers, Bob Iger himself suggests that the streaming service won’t see a profit until next year, attributing a heavy focus on “chasing profitability” instead of “chasing subscribers.”
However, many have had concerns as Iger hasn’t done much to denounce suggestions that he may consider selling off many of Disney’s individual enterprises. During the last earning meeting held by the Walt Disney Company, Iger was mainly silent when posed with questions regarding swirling rumors that The Walt Disney Company was looking to off-load assets to sustain growth or off-set a tough year at their domestic theme parks.
As Disney+ could currently be considered to be a failing product, could Iger make the unprecidented decision to offload Disney’s struggling streaming service once and for all? As subscribers continue to cancel service to Disney’s still youthful online streaming platform, as well as the majority of Disney’s recent productions, leaving fans unsatisfied with the direction of Disney films and animation, if the lower bar set by Iger isn’t reached by 2024, serious talks about offloading the platform may begin (if they haven’t already).
Iger and The Walt Disney Company already seem to be in the market to offload several company assets, with the latest suitor being Allen Media Group founder and CEO Bryon Allen. As the company’s streaming unit has led to a loss of over $11 billion since its 2019 introduction, literally selling out is still on the table, especially as more and more subscribers cancel their Disney+ service. Combined with rumors of selling to other large media companies like Apple, the consideration is worth discussion.
Disney’s Current Culture Problem
The issues many have with The Walt Disney Company, which some attribute to its continued financial struggle, not just for its Disney+ streaming service but also at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, are well-documented. For decades, Disney built its empire on family-oriented animation and entertainment. To keep up with a quickly changing world, Disney has removed itself from its once neutral position regarding socio-political issues, throwing its hat in the arena as a champion and alienating those with more traditional and conservative values.
As Walt Disney World, one of The Walt Disney Company’s most profitable businesses, resides in the conservative stronghold of Florida, tourism to the “Most Magical Place on Earth” has also declined. Despite the obvious starring Bob Iger in the face, the company CEO instead has explained away the downward trends, ignoring a growing movement of those opposed to The Walt Disney Company, including those who are choosing to cancel their Disney+ service.
In addition, it seems that many would are unfufilled with the products that Disney is creating and selling to their consumers. Instead of original content, Walt Disney Studios are choosing to grasp at the nostalgia from our youth, recreating beloved classics in live-action. Although they enjoyed success at first, many feel the movement of bringing stories like The Little Mermaid and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into reality is stale. Not to mention, many changes are made in the adaptations that many feel are too forward-thinking or “preachy,” including Rachel Zegler’s upcoming feminist approach to Snow White.
Although Disney must adapt to a changing landscape and is seemingly dedicated to making Disney+ work for subscribers, devoting itself to more profitable content, as more and more cancel their subscriptions due to progressive ideology and hiked service prices, if the low bar set by Bob Iger isn’t met in 2024, Disney may have to abandon the service completely.